MATRYOSHKA OWL STYLE
RUSSIAN NESTING DOLLS
Matryoshka dolls, also known as Russian nesting dolls, came to Russia from Japan at the end of the nineteenth century. It was a wooden doll depicting an older Buddhist wise man carrying a younger version of himself nested inside.
Russian nesting dolls are a set of several wooden dolls of decreasing sizes that one by one fit inside of each other. Each stacking doll splits in half at the mid section and opens to reveal another smaller doll nested within. The traditional Matryoshka doll is usually round in shape and decoratively painted to resemble a pretty young faced peasant woman dressed or bundled up in an extravagant sarafan costume, a loose fitting traditional Russian garment.
The name “matryoshka” literally means “little matron”, it comes from the Latin word for mother. So the meaning of matryoshka can be translated as “little mother”, based on the idea that the outer or largest doll holds her babies inside. In the west, Matryoshka dolls are often erroneously referred to as “babushka”, which means “grandmother” or “old woman”.
The dolls design and style often follow a theme and are similar to each other, but are not identical. Matryoshka dolls from the same design may vary in color, carry something different in their hands, or follow the same pattern with smaller dolls having less details. The themes can be as simple as “sarafan” a doll with the traditional costume, or as complicated as telling a Russian fairy tale.
The first Russian nesting doll set was carved in 1890 at the Children’s Education Workshop, whose purpose was to make and sell children’s toys. The set consisted of 8 dolls, where the outermost was a mother in a traditional Russian dress holding a red-combed rooster. The inner dolls were her children, five girls and a boy, and the innermost a baby. The Children’s Education Workshop was closed in the late 1890s, but the tradition of the matryoshka simply relocated to Semyonov.
Semyonov became the name of the classic Matryoshkas. It depicts a young woman generally painted in yellow, red and white, with a distinct bright bouquet of flowers which makes these stacking dolls easy to recognize.
Matryoshkas are handcrafted from wood of Birch and Tilia trees.The logs are aerated in the open for two or three years. A master woodworker decides when they are ready to be worked, so the tree trunks are cut into logs appropriate for the heights of the matryoshkas to be made.
CARVING THE WOOD
A wood carver uniquely crafts each set of wooden calipers. Multiple pieces of wood are meticulously carved into the nesting set. They are produced using a lathe equipped with balance bar; distinct types of chisels and wood carving knives, and a set of handmade wooden calipers particular to the size of a doll. The tools are hand forged by the village blacksmith.
Matryoshka-making begins with the smallest doll, this one is a solid piece. Its shape and size determine those of all the larger dolls that follow. Afterwards, the bottom half of the next doll is turned, and a ring to attach it to the upper part is made, then the upper part is made, carving the insert for the ring. Finally the woodworker puts together upper and lower half and leaves them to dry. This tightens the ring so the halves will close securely.
The woodworker does not work with measures during the process, sizing the dolls to fit each other is an art, which makes each doll unique.
PAINTING NESTING DOLLS
Each doll is covered with oil-varnish to retain moisture and prevent cracking. Then it is painted using high-quality tempera or oil. The painters are true artists who can achieve great detail, each artist likes to express their art following a theme but creating their own design each time. This is why you will find variations in the matryoshkas design compared to the photo. After the paint has dried, the dolls are finished with a protective coating of varnish or lacquer.
HOW TO OPEN YOUR MATRYOSHKA
1. Lay the nesting doll on a soft flat surface
2. Place the doll so that its seam is perpendicular to the ground.
3. Place the palm of your hand on the steam and apply light downward pressure until the doll begins to open.
4. Press as many times as needed but don’t press too hard to avoid breaking your doll
(as of Sep 10,2020 01:53:52 UTC – Details)