Had it wrong – all this time. Yep, must confess, that I had my terminology wrong and now stand to be corrected. This set of nested dolls are NOT babooshka (or Babushka) dolls BUT matryoshka dolls. So then why does a whole shop dedicated to these, which is in one of our finest shopping arcades, call itself Babooshka? (wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong).
- A matryoshka doll, also known as Russian nesting/nested doll, refers to a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about its history.
- They are sometimes incorrectly referred to as “babushka dolls”.
- The first Russian nested doll set was carved in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin from a design by Sergey Malyutin, who was a folk crafts painter at Abramtsevo.
- Traditionally the outer layer is a woman, dressed in a sarafan, a long and shapeless traditional Russian peasant jumper dress.
- The figures inside may be of either gender; the smallest, innermost doll is typically a baby turned from a single piece of wood.
- Much of the artistry is in the painting of each doll, which can be very elaborate.
- The dolls often follow a theme, aside from the typical traditional peasant girls, the themes vary, from fairy tale characters to Soviet leaders.
- The word “matryoshka” (матрёшка), literally “little matron”, is a diminutive form of the Russian female first name “Matryona” (Матрёна).