“How many selves do we contain, like Russian dolls concealed within one another.” – Susan Hill
I saw these nesting dolls on the Window in one of my walks in the city before Christmas.
It is in a shop in the Royal Arcade named Babushka and it is a whole shop full of Russian nesting dolls. The window display is so cute to look at and they even have modernised versions with Winnie the Poo characters and Santa Clauses. These Matryoshka dolls, stacking dolls, nesting dolls, Russian dolls and it is a set of wooden dolls placed one inside the other in decreasing sizes.
But what is the history behind these stacked dolls?
The matryoshka doll is a symbol of Russia and its culture. It is truly a doll—a child’s plaything—but it began its history just over 100 years ago as a highly collectible art form. The matryoshka doll (or, simply, the matryoshka) is a nested doll with two halves that can be pulled apart. The outer figure contains increasingly smaller versions of itself.
The painted image on the dolls is most often a woman wearing traditional Russian costume. The woman is a mother; the names Matryona and Matryoshka were common Russian country names for generations. Encyclopaedia.com