There is no greater symbol of Russian folk art than the matrioshka, the beloved wooden doll nesting more dolls inside of her. However, most people would be surprised to hear that the matrioshka is barely 100 years old. Although the exact origins of the idea for these nesting dolls is still somewhat a mystery, it is believed that the first prototype was brought to Russia from Japan. Small-scale production was begun in the 1890's and worldwide interest in these dolls has made matrioshka one of Russia's most popular cultural exports ever since. The name "matrioshka" has its origins in the word "mother", and not surprisingly, with their feminine features and "children" nested inside of them, matrioshka has become a symbol of motherhood and fertility. What has changed over the years is the degree of intricacy and originality in their painting. The first Russian matrioshka were primarily meant to be toys as they are excellent educational items: children can be taught hand-eye coordination, colours, counting, etc. with these attractive dolls. But since the age of perestroika and free enterprise ushered in by Gorbachev at the end of the 1980's, artists have taken to these dolls to express themselves in very creative ways. You will see by our wide selection of beautifully painted dolls, that the only limits to expression are our artists' imaginations. There is truly something to appeal to every doll or art collector.

  All items featured are hand crafted by Russian artists,
and may not be exactly as shown.
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