More correctly known as a Babushka Dolls or Matryoshka Dolls, Russian Dolls are produced in sets of decreasing sizes, and are designed in such a way that they can be placed inside each other. Invented in 1890, modern Russian Dolls are not that dissimilar from their early counterparts. Whilst most will have at least five dolls in the set, others will contain a lot more. They often depict a series of women dressed in a safaran with the inner figure frequently being that of a baby.
Russian Doll sets vary hugely in price, from a few pounds to several thousand pounds for some of the most highly decorated and limited edition versions. They hold a strong fascination for children who will often spend hours playing with their Russian Matroshka Dolls, carefully hiding each one inside the next until the set is complete again. Many other non-traditional subjects are used to decorate these sets, with Father Christmas, Snowmen, cats, dogs and even characters like The Simpsons or Winnie the Pooh figures being amongst the favourites.
Hand painted Russian Dolls are still made in the traditional way, so that each set will always have a number of differences to a similar version. A difference in a small paint brush stroke or slight colour variation is part of what makes collecting Russian Dolls so interesting, and many adult collectors will scour the globe for rare sets to complete their collection. Children however are the main recipients of these fascinating pieces, and many of them will keep them as treasured memories of their childhood.
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