10 Exclusive: Birth of Russian Matryoshka Dolls

Exclusive: Birth of Russian Matryoshka Dolls

Posted on November 20, 2014 by team


Matryoshka is one of the most recognizable symbols of Russia. It is brought from the country as a souvenir usually bought only by foreigners. Blogger Yaroslav visited a place in a little town called Semenov where these wooden dolls are made and he took some curious photos that are presented inside this post.

A Matryoshka doll is actually a set of several (normally three) dolls, decreasing in size, placed one into another. Each doll consists of two parts – the lower and upper parts. All hand-painted Matryoshka dolls represent a female image wearing a kerchief and a bright Russian sarafan.

The factory in Semenov is one of the few that make matryoshka dolls. They are 80% manually made and this fact is a pride of the factory. They can easily tell their own dolls from ones made in another place.

The wood to be used for making Matryoshkas.

Upon processing.

By the way, Russian dolls are made by old German machines.

Drums are rotating – they are grinding workpieces.

Now they start working by hand.

Workpieces.

The workpieces are placed into the rotating machine and treated manually with sand paper.

Such tools are used to make recesses required to shape future dolls.

Samples on the shelves. They are said to be defective, though.

Each lot of goods is accompanied by a certificate, otherwise it won’t pass quality control.

Painting is the hardest part of the work.

Two identical dolls can never be found. Every Matryoshka has its own features, that’s why they are so valuable. They could certainly be made on a conveyor and be much cheaper, but handmade is on trand again!

It’s jewelry work but they deal with wood, not diamonds…

Planning for the day.

Some of them are made to order. Once they had an order from Japan for a lot of emo-dolls.

Children are taught to paint, maybe they will come to the factory for a job one day…

“The best professional!”

Let us say thanks to Yaroslav for his well done job!

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10 Responses to “Exclusive: Birth of Russian Matryoshka Dolls”

  1. golfietis says:

    “By the way, Russian dolls are made by old German machines”

    As always – best machinery, cars etc is coming from western world.

    Propaganda – you`ve got it wrong English russia…

  2. Froggy says:

    Can a Russian tell us where the tradition comes from ?

  3. john says:

    Great posting a lot of skill and patience needed there,but very nice work.

  4. Jewels Vern says:

    Russian dolls are so full of themselves.

  5. erik says:

    Wonderful art work .
    I hope they are well paid for their efforts .

  6. Tshuhna says:

    Painting must be painful job for the neck.

  7. Pierre says:

    Thank you English Russia for this post. I bought a book on the Matryoshka, I bought some but I hope I will visit a factory one day.
    The one I have are tiny pieces of art with tiny details very well painted. Ok they were not cheap… maybe this is why :)

  8. Lumpy Gravy says:

    A while back I found this on the Guardian’s comment pages …

    “I hate Russian dolls … they’re so full of themselves!”

    … which made me crack up :-)

  9. Gregabob says:

    I’ve seen a set of dolls that went from
    Yeltsin to Lenin–but it omitted Chernenko and Andropov–probably would have to commission a custom set to include those 2 premiers. I understand dolls of soviet leaders were hard to come by due to the fact they were considered to be disrespectful. Be cool to have a set now though!

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