Understanding the other day with my photo archives, I came across photos from last year’s exhibition “A Difficult Toy” at the Museum of Decorative and Applied Artabout the floral nesting dolls. As always, I didn’t have enough time to lay out a timely report on this exhibition. Now, looking at photos of these really old, real and amazing toys, I felt an irresistible craving to figure out what kind of toy it is and what its story is. We hope you will be interested.
The Right Exhibition
The exhibition was held at the Museum of Decorative and Applied Art in Moscow in the summer of 2015. This museum is rather peculiar. Some people write that it is boring and inexpressive. But it seems to me that everything is completely wrong. Yes, there is some feeling of detachment from reality and abandonment against the backdrop of dynamic Moscow exhibition venues. But maybe you don’t need to run and hurry to “make it in time” we like the museum because there are few people here, often there are free exhibitions, and sometimes quite enchanting ones, for example, the “Sarmatian Gold” exhibition in 2014that remained, for the most part, unnoticed by Muscovites. Permanent sections of the exhibition as “Russian lacquer miniature”, “Decorative and applied art of Russia of XVIIearly XX centuries”, “Gallery of Soviet porcelain” deserve to see all this with their own eyesfor those who are interestedenjoy it, no doubt. For an interesting read about nesting dolls exhibition click here
However, back to the Russian nesting dolls
My spontaneous impulse was expressed in the processing of all these photos and the desire to learn about the nested doll much more than I knew. And I knew, as it turned out, not much at allthat this is, like, one of the symbols of Russia, for example. Another interesting question for me was the time of birth of the doll exactly in the form in which we all imagine it. It seemed to me that the doll was made as a toy “from time immemorial”it turns out I was wrong. However, let’s proceed to inspect this amazing exposure.
- The appearance of the nesting dolls in Russia is connected with the common European interest and enthusiasm for Japanese art at the beginning of the 20th century, as part of an artistic trend in art known as “modern” and associated with a highly professional author.
- For the first time the toy was exhibited at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900, where it received high public recognition and was awarded a bronze medal. It’s further mass production in the Sergiev Posad workshops, as well as, later, in other art centers, made a recognizable national symbol out of this toy.
The history of the nesting dolls includes three periods:
From the moment of their appearance until the beginning of the 1930s nesting dolls become iconic for their epoch by author’s works, amaze with the refinement of painting, a variety of themes and forms. Wooden split dolls realistically “fix” the life of that time in the depiction of representatives of different classes, professions, nationalities.
Since the mid 1930s until the end of the 1980sthe period of factory production of nesting dolls. The main stylistics of the “mass”, “commercial” type of nesting dolls are firmly fixed in the cities of Sergiev Posad, Semenov, in the village of PolkhovskyMaidan and in the village of Krutets, as well as in Moscow and Tver regions, in Bashkiria, Mordovia, Mari El and other regions.
All the old and most valuable exhibits are concentrated at the beginning of the exhibition, in the first small exhibition hall.
The third period in the development of floral nesting dolls is from the beginning of the 1990s, the time of the so-called “author” floral nesting dolls. The nested doll gets more and more “decorative”, being a kind of canvas for the deployment of entire plots, both timeless and actual. We remember well the floral nesting dollsof Stalin, Brezhnev, and Gorbachev
- The name “floral nesting dolls” for a wooden detachable painted figure fit in. In the Old Russian province, the name Matryona was one of the most common and favorite female names. This name comes from Latin, which means “mother.” Matryona’s name evokes the image of a real Russian woman, mother of numerous children, with real peasant health and a typical portly figure.
- Floral nesting dolls are usually cut from linden, birch, alder and aspen. More solid and durable conifers are not used for such “pampering”. The best material for the manufacture of dolls is linden.
- The firstborn in the manufacture of floral nesting dolls, as we know, was the workshop “Children’s Education”, and after it was closed, this industry was mastered in Sergiev Posad. The local masters created their own type of floral nesting dolls, which to this day is called Sergiev Posad.
- Time has brought changes to Russian dolls which were very diverse both in shape and in painting. In addition to the girls in Russian sarafans with baskets, sickles, bouquets of flowers, or in winter sheepskin coats with a shawl on their heads, the male characters are often found among the early sergievo-posad samples, a beard. Sometimes the floral nesting doll was a whole family with numerous children and household members.
- These dolls may not be stacking toys for sports, nevertheless, these nesting dolls are like fun for children who have assimilated the concepts of shape, color, quantity and size. Such toys were quite expensive. But the demand for them appeared immediately. A few years after the appearance of the first floral nesting dolls, almost the entire Sergiev Posad made these charming dolls.
The use of wood makes the product range almost limitless. Floral nesting dolls, decorative vases, and various figures that depict plants, animals, birds, people, and others are made of wood. Carved items can also perform utilitarian functions, for example, in combination with a clock or a barometer.
The range of the enterprise is very wide. There are products with a simple painting at a very low price, and there are highly artistic products, the price of which corresponds to the high qualifications of the artist.Company executives strive to have the widest possible range of artists so that their products meet demand. To this end, the company provides training on the art of painting on wood according to its original method. This technique provides an individual approach to the student and allows you to discover and develop his abilities. Therefore, among the products of the company are many diverse and original products. You can find more outstanding varieties of nesting dolls at nestingdolls.co
Nesting dollsthe production and sale of nested dolls
Nested dolls were brought to Russia from Japan in the 18th century and gained enormous popularity. The form of dolls concisely and generally repeats the appearance of a person. Each nested doll is disassembled into two parts and contains inside itself similar to itself, but reduced in shape. Each such form is called a “place”. Nested dolls of 3, 5, 7 and 10 places are the most common, but there are dolls which consist of 15, 20 and even 30 places. In the 20th century, the whole world began to consider the floral nesting dolls a Russian cultural product.