Russian nesting dolls, or matryoshkas are a symbol of Russian culture to this day. This wonderful toy was first made and conceived in 1890 by Mamontov in the “Children’s Education” workshop, which is just outside Moscow. The name matryoshka came from the very popular Russian female name Matryona. Matryona is derived from the Latin root meaning mother, ’mater’. These dolls were associated with the word mother because the outermost doll is representative of a healthy mother of a large family (made up of the dolls inside). To this day the nesting dolls are considered to be a symbol of motherhood and fertility. The famous first set of nesting dolls contained both boys and girls, ending with a baby in a diaper.
After their creation the dolls popularity grew and spread immensely. It wasn’t long before these dolls were appearing in funny forms of Russian politicians and tsars. Each set of dolls is unique and represents a different story or meaning.
Here are some fun pictures of nesting dolls!