Merry, Mary Matryoshka Doll

matryoshka doll also known as Russian nesting doll refers to a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other. The first Russian nesting doll set was carved in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin from a design by Sergey Malyutin, a folk crafts painter. Traditionally the outer layer is a woman, dressed as a traditional Russian peasant. The smallest, innermost doll is typically a baby carved from a single piece of wood. Much of the artistry is in the painting of each doll, which can be very elaborate. The dolls often follow a theme, from fairy tale characters to Soviet leaders.

My own matryoshka doll from Ukraine is usually nestled between two volumes on my library shelf: Arthur Gordon’s A Touch of Wonder, and A Treasury of Religious Verse. But now on display during this season the largest doll tells the story of Christ’s nativity . . .

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. . . and, un-nested, the story of his subsequent life on earth unfolds, culminating in the Crucifixion and Ascension.

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Merry Christmas to One and All!

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8 thoughts on “Merry, Mary Matryoshka Doll

  1. What a beautiful and unusual way to say Merry Christmas. Loved the story and the pictorial doll. There’s a story in every picture isn’t there?

    From sunny, warm California, we all wish you and Cliff abundant blessings.

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    1. Like Traci, “another astute observation,” Carolyn.

      We were in shorts and sandals yesterday, but today feels a little more Christmasy–temps in the 60s, not bad.

      Merry Christmas, Carolyn, Allen, and all the CA gang!

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  2. Marian,

    Grandson Owen loves our own Russian dolls. I will show him these pictures on the computer, and I’m sure he will be excited to see them. We got our set in Prague a few years ago.

    Knowing the story of your time in the Ukraine makes your Matryoshka dolls even more beautiful. I love the connection between memories and objects.

    Merry, Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    Shirley

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    1. We are both so fortunate to be able to impress our grandchildren with our memories, and artifacts. Appreciate the heritage, love being able to pass on a rich legacy.

      When we were in Prague, I remember puppets and light shows but don’t remember Matryoshka dolls although I’m sure they were right under my nose.

      All good wishes to the Showalter family!

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