The Nesting Dolls Hype You’d Want To Participate In

Russian nesting dolls are popular with tourists who arrived in Moscow in connection with the World Cup 2018. Here starts the topic of this article Russian nesting doll how it’s made.

Every day a lot of tourists come to the Izmailovo market in Moscow to buy dolls, considered to be a kind of symbol of Russia. Matryoshka with images of world famous footballers, in particular Ronaldo and Messi, are very popular with tourists. At the Izmailovo market you can also buy dolls with the image of famous athletes from the NBA and NFL.

You can also buy matryoshka dolls depicting world-famous world leaders, including Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Stars of Turkish football are also depicted on nesting dolls.

The immense popularity of Sergiev Posad dolls led to the emergence of competition. Masters from other places could see a novelty at fairs, especially at Nizhny Novgorod’s largest in the country. Sergiev-Posad dolls attracted the attention of Nizhny Novgorod carvers-toy-makers. In the Nizhny Novgorod province appears its large handicraft center for the production of nested dolls – the city of Semenov according to it the matryoshka is called Semenovskaya.

Tradition of nesting dolls

The tradition of painting Semyonov matryoshka dolls originates from the hereditary master toy-maker Mayorov from the village of Merinovo. The village is located near Semenov. In 1922, Arsentiy Fedorovich Mayorov brought from Nizhny Novgorod an unstained sergiy-posad matryoshka. His eldest daughter Lyuba put a drawing on the nested doll with a goose feather and painted it with aniline dye. On her head she depicted a Russian kokoshnik, and in the center she placed a bright scarlet flower, like a daisy. For almost 20 years, the Merinovskie matryoshchechniky took first place among the masters of the Nizhny Novgorod region for 20 years.

The painting process

The painting of the Semyonov matryoshka, is more vivid and decorative in comparison with Sergiev Posad. The painting of Semyonov matryoshk originates in the folk traditions of the “grass” ornament of Ancient Russia. The Semyonov masters left more unpainted surfaces, they use more modern aniline paints also coated with varnish.

The basis of the composition in the painting of Semyonov matryoshka is an apron, which depicts a magnificent bouquet of flowers. Modern masters create paintings in three colors – red, blue and yellow. They change the color combination of an apron, sundress and headscarf. The bouquet on the apron is traditionally written not in the center, but shifting somewhat to the right. Semenovskie turners have come up with a special form of dolls. She, in contrast to Sergiev Posad, is more slender. The upper part of its relatively thin abruptly turns into a thickened lower.

Semyonov’s matryoshka differs from others in that it is multi-placed and consists of 15-18 multi-colored figures. It was in Semyonov that the largest 72-seater nested doll was cut out. Its diameter is half a meter, and its height is 1 meter. Semenov is considered the largest center for the creation of matryoshkas in Russia. Of course, you don’t have to go there to buy quality dolls. You can just buy online at


The Forbes mentioned nesting dolls as part of the 2019 toy trends. Read their article.


Matryoshka from Polkhovsky Maidan

In the south-west of the Nizhny Novgorod region there is another famous center for the manufacture and painting of dolls – this is the village of Polkhovskiy Maidan. This is an old handicraft center, whose residents specialized in wood carving and wooden toys. The first polkhovskih matryoshka, made on the example of Sergiev-Posad, were trimmed with burning. Later, the locals began to paint them using floral ornament. Masters of Polkhovsky Maidan, as well as Semenov, write with aniline dyes. Coloring Polkhovsko-Maidan’s matryoshka is distinguished by an even brighter, more resonant color gamut and larger painting.

Modern Matryoshka

This is a characteristic feature of the modern author’s dolls – its extraordinary picturesque. Her drawing is similar to flowery fabric and creates a festive mood. One of the main themes of the painting becomes the world around. Many artists turn to motifs from Russian history, from Prince Igor’s campaign to modern history. It turned out that in the matryoshka there is a huge potential for the transmission of events unfolding in time and space. This movement appears as if in front of our eyes and can also be “rolled up and put away” in a nested doll case.

It is worth mentioning that for the inauguration of Bill Clinton in Russia, dolls with the image of the future President of the United States and his closest associates were specially ordered.

Very often, contemporary artists turn to the traditional themes of painting nesting dolls – “Family”, “Motherhood”. Hence, making nesting dolls as great wedding gifts. For the first time, a mother with a baby in her arms was painted in her matryoshka by a master from the village of Krutets, Nizhny Novgorod Region. We do not find such a tradition of painting in the matryoshka dolls of the early Sergiev type, but during the heyday of the author’s matryoshka this theme began to actively develop. The idea of ??comfort, consolation, intercession is connected with the theme of motherhood. This is a lullaby sung at night, and a wonderful fairy tale told to grown-up children. The plots of Russian fairy tales, nested dolls on the apron are very diverse.