(Rusiann babushka * Matroshka * Matreshka * russkaâ matreshka)
The most famous and most popular Russian national souvenir is the Russian doll Babushka or Matrjoshka, which consists of puppets that fall apart and within which a few smaller dolls are. Most of the 6 puppets are made in the form of a cylinder. In many shops, street stalls, exhibitions, fairs or festivals in various parts of the world, Russian stalls, the Russian doll Matrjoshka can be always seen. These dolls attracting and charming visitors with their unusual shape and happy face. The style of making Russian dolls has remained the same until today. The Babushka is made by Russian carvings craftsmen.
Matrjoshka was named because once in Russian villages was the popular female name Matrjon (mother). Matrjoshka is a “doll for watching”. It was only in the possession of a rich kids. Today, she is a matron, a toy and a souvenir, but also one of the most striking symbols of Russia. The doll is a typical nice Russian girl, which is, according to stereotypes of “blue hair, blue eyes, bruised cheeks and full stature”.
Matrjoshka should always stand at the same place in the house. Tradition says it brings prosperity and peace to the family. The city of Russia, Semjonovo is the place where Matrushka was started to produce for the first time. The most famous is the classic Matrjoshka named “Semjonovska”.
Babushka in Russian means a grandmother (Russian Matrashka – Matrjoshka, hip. of the name Matrëna – Matrjona, in Russian matriarchy). Matrjoshka is a more correct expression because the figurine represents the mother rather than the grandmother. Dolls are painted and made without hands. Traditionally, dolls are depicted by women in diverse folk costumes, but men can also be seen on dolls. Topics are varied; they can be characters from folk fairy tales, unusual Russians and even modern politicians.
Some theories say that the Russians have taken the doll-matrjoshka system from Japan after the Russian-Japanese War.
The first puppets appeared in 1890, and were made by woodwinds V. P. Zvjozdochkin and professional artist Sergei Maljutin. For the first time, the Matrjoshka were exhibited at the World Expo in Paris in 1900, where they won the bronze medal. After this achievement, they began to be made all over Russia. They were crafted manually and fairly well, with painting of the wood. There are other types of matrjoshka’s made of other materials.