One of the the most iconic Russian items is the matryoshka doll. Matryoshka dolls were first carved in the 1890's by Vasily Zvyozdochkin and Sergey Malyutin. These dolls, for those of you that don't know, go in descending order of size to end in the ultimate one wooden piece baby. The dolls typically have a theme to them ranging from fairy tales to leaders. The dolls are created off of a "Matryoshka principal", meaning that each preceding layer is similar to the one before it, sort of like an onion. During production of the dolls, the wood is fit into shape using only the crafters eye measurements and the wood frames are placed inside one another in order to dry into a snuggly fit shape. The name Matryoshka means "little matron" and is derived from the female name Matryona. These cute little dolls are a great center piece for any Russian home. The dolls are each carved by hand with special care and deserve to be treated as such.