It is said that at the end of the 19th century, the Mamontov family, famous Russian industrialists and philanthropists whether from Paris, or from the island of Honshu, someone brought a Japanese finely carved Buddhist figure of Fukuruji (Fukurum), which turned out to be a “surprise” she understood into two parts. Inside it is hidden another, smaller, which also consisted of two halves. In total, there were five such pupae. It was assumed that it was this figure that prompted the Russians to create their own version of a split toy, embodied in the form of a peasant girl, soon christened by the popular name Matryoshka (Matryona). Still refer to the legend of the Japanese origin of the doll.
It is assumed that the first Russian nesting doll was carved and painted in the Moscow toy workshop only in the 90s of the XIX century, on the model brought from Japan. The Japanese model, made with great humor, was a set of figurines inserted into each other by the Japanese sage Fukurum, a bald old man with his head stretched upward from numerous reflections.
The history of the development of toy crafts in Russia suggests that the tradition of turning and painting wooden eggs for Easter contributed to the creation of the Russian NestingDolls.
In one of the albums devoted to the work of the Russian artist who can see an extraordinary illustration, left without comment, a sketch of a painting carved from a tree of a doll. It was this famous artist, later an academician of painting, who at one time became the creator of the first Russian nesting doll. And the turning form of the toy was proposed by, a native of the Voronovsky parish of Podolsky district, Moscow province, has long been famous for its skilled turners.
The birthplace of the new original toy, which quickly won the fame of a national souvenir, was the workshop, where since 1898 the turner V.P. Zvezdochkin. Therefore, approximately from this time it is possible to count the age of the matryoshka, in the further destiny of which there were ups and downs, glory and oblivion, travels and metamorphoses.
The present situation
For about a century this famous toy in Russia, but to this day it is not known what was first – the sketch of a professional artist or the successful embodiment of the creative search of a folk artist, noticed in time by an interested person. It is curious that the sketch published in the album and the matryoshka stamped by the workshop “Children’s Education” from the collection of the Art Pedagogical Museum of Toys in Sergiev Posad are similar to two sisters, but you cannot call them twins. This fact suggests that S.V. Malyutin made several options for painting future toys.
The craft appeared presumably in the XVII century and reached its heyday at the turn of the XVIII – XIX centuries. There is no exact data on the time of creation of the first toy in this town, but it is known that as early as the 15th century, special workshops existed at the Trinity Sergius Monastery, in which the monks were engaged in three-dimensional and relief woodcarving.
The theme of Sergiev’s handmade wooden toy was quite diverse, which was explained, first of all, by the favorable geographical position of the craft. The proximity of Moscow and the immediate neighborhood of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, attracting a huge number of pilgrims, had a great influence on the choice of subjects. The toy reflected many aspects of Russian life, events of that time, and features of everyday life of various segments of the population.
Simultaneously with the art of woodcarving in Sergievsky Posad, the skill of modeling, painting, and decorating toys, making motor and sound mechanisms was also improved. A solid place in the plots of Sergiev handicraftsmen was occupied by everyday themes gradually formed the main themes of the dolls, which became a kind of Sergiev canon. Now a day’s many people give their own creative imagination in the old model to create new art form. There are many videos on how to make your own nesting doll on the web. So you can make according to your imagination.
Since the beginning of the 80s of the last century, as a result of increased competition from private toy factories in the field, a period of decline began. The Moscow provincial zemstvo drew attention to this. In the 1890s, the zemstvo helped to maintain the stable development of handicraft production, including toy production. Professional artists, educators, economists who first tried to make out new samples of toys on a serious scientific basis were invited to the craft. In order to improve the condition of the fishery in Sergiev Posad in 1891 an educational and demonstration workshop was opened under the direction of V.I. Brodsky.
Thus, at the time of the appearance of a split-molded, figurine, the history of Sergiev’s toy fishery already had about two centuries.