Russian Matryoshka Nesting Dolls


Russian Nesting Dolls are stackable wooden dolls which come one into other. They also are called as nested dolls, matryoshka dolls, Russian dolls, babushka dolls, stacking dolls. This wooden Russian doll is a popular national souvenir and gift. This category is devoted to wide selection of Russian nesting dolls. This is more than hundred years as wide fame was won by Russian matryoshka dolls far abroad. At all large exhibitions, fairs, the festivals held in different counties of the world, amusing cheerful Russian nesting doll was and is the most fascinating exhibit.

Frequent questions about nesting dolls

1. Where did nesting dolls come from?
There is an opinion that the nesting doll came from Japan. Though the main part of people think that it was invented in Russia, it is even called “matryoshka” -this name has Russian origin and it goes from the woman old name Matryona. Also nesting dolls often are called “Russian dolls”. After more close study of this topic we can find out that the Russian nesting doll is relative “young” and it is only 120 years old. Indeed the first Russian matryoshka was made in the end of the 19-s century in the workshop in the Sava Mamontov’s estate in the village Adbramstevo.

Sava Mamontov was a reach merchant and industrialist, he also was a patron of artists, actors and artisans. One day somebody brought to the workshop a funny Japanese wooden toy. The toy described Japanese god Fukuruma and it consisted of several dolls, each doll could be opened and each previous smaller doll could be put inside the larger next doll. The toy was so amusing that artists decided to make own similar toy. It worth to say that artists used only idea of nesting dolls, all other features like shape of the dolls and subject of painting have Russian origin.

2. What is the meaning behind Russian nesting dolls?

Often people find symbols everywhere and make life more complicate and intricate. No wander that cute toy matryoshka could provoke many questions about its meaning and deep denotation. Often we can read explanations that matryoshka is a symbol maternity or family. We have to disappoint you – Russian matryoshka has no special meaning hided inside – this is just amusing and beautiful toy. Though, we need to confess, sometimes a nesting dolls set can be a real piece of art when an artist makes complicated and rich painting. In this case a hidden and covert meaning may be implemented into painting but not in the nesting doll itself.

3. What is the purpose of nesting dolls?

  1. The first and the most common reason why people buy nesting dolls – this is a toy, nice and cute toy for children. There are many nesting dolls of different styles with different topics of painting which are considered as toys for children. Such nesting dolls are relatively inexpensive, they may cost just some dollars. In spite of low price they still are real wooden nesting dolls with hand-made painting and they may serve long time. The most common are matryoshka dolls sets which consists of 5 pieces with floral decoration.
  2. Other purpose is to decorate your home. If you place a set of a nesting doll somewhere on a shelf or inside a cabinet you will add some domestic spirit of Russian country life, it will bring you a feeling of cosiness and tranquility. For this purpose, please, select larger nesting dolls 15-17 cm tall with bright and festive painting.
  3. Quite often nesting dolls are item for collecting. People collect nesting dolls on different topics – somebody collect items of a specific style (for instance, Semionov country style), some collect nesting dolls of a certain artists, some collects just all what they like.
  4. There are some nesting dolls with high quality and very detailed painting, they are real pieces of art, such nesting dolls may be meet in museums and in private collections.

4. How can I open a nesting doll?

Often people can not open TOO TIGHT matryoshka dolls. Actually Russian nesting dolls are made of well dried wood of lime tree. Such wood is light and soft but in the same time it keeps shape very well. So if a nesting doll is kept in the home with normal humidity and temperature two halves of each doll of the matryoshka set will fit tightly for years. This is not a fault but the sign of high quality of wood and of artisan’s work.

People who got a nesting doll first time often do not know how to open the dolls. They scare to break the dolls if they apply some force while opening. You can be quite surprised to know that regular nesting dolls can stand quite high stresses so do not be afraid to apply some efforts. Take the doll in your hands – one half in one hand and the second half in other. Try to bend to doll as if this were a twig and as if you want to break it. Please do not pull the two halves – this is useless unless your are very strong person. And please do not twist two parts of a doll as you can damage the painting and lacquer finishing on the edges.

Sometime happens that during finishing some lacquer gets into the join of the two halves of the doll. The lacquer gets harden and the doll is got stuck. In this case you need other tactic. Put the doll on the table and hit it slightly by your fist. If all goes well you may listen a kind of click – the two parts of the doll are released from harden lacquer and now you can open the doll using the method described above. If you do not hear a click try to hit harder but be careful and do not injure your hand!


7 pieces set, size 20 cm /8" tall


5 pieces set; height ~10 cm/ 4" tall


5 pieces set, size 17.5 cm/7"


5 pieces set, size 13 cm/5"


5 pieces set, size 13 cm/5"


10 pieces set, size 14 cm/5-3/4"


10 pieces set, size 12.5 cm/5"


5 pieces set, size 17.5 cm/7"


7 pieces set, size 16 cm/6-1/3"


Size 5 pieces set; height 9 cm/3-2/3" tall


Size 5 pieces set; height 12.5 cm/5" tall


3 pieces set; height 9.5 cm/3-4/5"


3 pieces set; height 8 cm/3-1/5"


5 pieces set, height 17.5 cm/7"


Size 5 pieces set; height 11 cm/4-1/3" tall


Size: 11 cm/ 4-1/3" tall


Size 5 pieces set; height 15 cm/6" tall


Size 5 pieces set; height 11.5 cm/4-2/3" tall


21 pieces set, size 16 cm/6-1/3"


10 pieces set, size 14 cm/5-3/4"


5 pieces set, size 15 cm /6" tall


5 pieces set, size 15 cm/6"


Set of 10 eggs


5 pieces set, size 15 cm/6" tall


5 pieces set, size 15 cm/6" tall


5 pieces set; height 17.5 cm/7" tall


5 pieces set, height 15 cm/6"


5 pieces set, height 14 cm/5-2/3"


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