September 20, 2010
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for musc-199 The Glory of Arts in Russia
Page # 1
Russian nesting dolls or Matryoshka “in Russian” can be described as little dolls made out of wood that decrease in size and stack within one another. One way to think of them is by comparing them to an onion, each layer becomes smaller as it goes. All these dolls vary in size; sometimes they are very large, while others quite small. They usually have a rounded shape and are smooth on the surface and contain between four and twelve dolls. When looking at the oldest style dolls typically the outermost layer is a woman who is dressed in a “Sarafan; a long shapeless dress worn as a folk costume.”1 The middle pieces can be both genders and the last layer is a baby which is the only piece that you cannot pull apart. The dolls are hand painted and always very beautiful. The images on the dolls come from the style of Russian folk art. They consist of intricate detail, and look like a lot of time and patience goes into them, especially when they become very small. Russian nesting dolls are a symbol of motherhood and fertility. The word Matryoshka actually means “little mother” The Latin root, Mater, means mother. The outermost layer represents the mother who is usually carrying something such as a basket or flowers, and the inner layers consist of her family, starting from the oldest child and decreases until it ends with the baby of the family. Another similar idea used to explain these dolls, is that the mother holds her babies inside, like a pregnant woman, and in time each daughter then has her own child as well. So it is like a series of generations passed down, representing Russian families. 1-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarafai 9/20/10
Page # 2
Russian nesting dolls consist of all natural products. They are made from lime birch, alder, and aspen, all different types of wood. The one...