matryoshka dolls one

Matryoshka Dolls, one



iconic figurine nesting (2)
culture comprise recognizable
brand century object (3)
linden based on percentage
create prepare chambermaid
wood located manufacturing
pure process Polish/polish
fit (2) attention represent
allow symbol account for
prime lacquer in order to
pore seal (2) starch (2)
detail send off sell/sold/sold
sculpt finish off attention to detail
region by hand second to none
design mistake headscarf
apron stage (2) without a doubt
unique feature worldwide
doubt costume quintessential


Video: Matryoshka Dolls




When it comes to iconic symbols of Russian culture, few objects are as recognizable as the matryoshka doll, known more commonly as a Russian nesting doll.

Natalia Meteleva, Lead Researcher, History and Art Museum of Semyonov: “The matryoshka doll is one of the most famous Russian brands.

But its history only goes back about a hundred-thirty (130) years. They were created at the end of the nineteenth (19th) century by the Russian artists Vasily Zayas Doshkin and Sergei Malutin.

The first matryoshka was based on the Japanese fukuruma figurines which comprised of four parts: the outside was an old man, and the inside was his entire family.

The matryoshka doll was a woman, rather than a man and had seven dolls in total.

When the artists created the first doll, they named it after their chambermaid; her name was Matryona, which means “mother” in Greek. So a matryoshka doll is a mother doll.”

Today, one of the most famous makers of dolls is the Khokhlomskaya Rospis Center, located in Semyonov, eighty (80) kilometers from Nizhy Novgorod, they’ve been making them since 1920, and they account for a large percentage of the doll manufacturing in Russia.

Nellya Ushakova, Matryoshka Doll Painter: “The wood we use here to make the dolls comes from the linden tree. It’s an easy wood to process and is very pure.

In the processing department the wood is polished and sculpted. This is an important stage, because each doll has to fit perfectly into the next bigger sized doll. They must be able to go in and out, freely.

This allows us to create the whole family.

The dolls are then primed and covered in a specially prepared starch, in order to seal all the pores of the wood. This makes it easier for the artists to paint.

Finally, the dolls are finished off with lacquer, before being sent off to be sold.”

With an attention to detail that is second to none, in Semyonov, all the painting is done by women, and all of it by hand.

Each region has its own look, even if you don’t know much about the differing features, you can never mistake a traditional matryoshka from Semyonov, but if you see a doll with black hair, a yellow headscarf a red dress and multicolored flowers on its apron, you can be certain it is from Semyonov.

Without a doubt, thanks to its traditional design, the costume and its unique look, the matryoshka doll has become a quintessential part of Russian culture.

Known worldwide, it represents our country and is something specifically Russian.


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1. The matryoshka doll, or nesting doll, is symbolic of Russian culture. True or false?

2. Is it a traditional handicraft that is a thousand years old?

3. The basic idea or design of the matryoshka doll comes from Ancient Greece. Is this right or wrong?

4. Does the traditional matryoshka doll represent a family?

5. The main manufacturing center is in Moscow. Is this correct or incorrect?

6. Are many different types of wood used to make the dolls?

7. Making the matryoshka dolls is quite complex. It is a complicated process. Yes or no? Do men, women or men and women create them? Do they make them entirely by hand, with machines or both?

8. Do all the dolls have the same pattern and colors from throughout Russia?


A. I have a set of matryoshka dolls in my house. Yes or no? Do you know anyone who has matryoshka dolls?

B. Have you seen nesting dolls for sale in shops, markets and souvenir stands?

C. Are traditional crafts popular in your city? What are some traditional handicrafts in your country?

D. Traditional crafts are an industry in my country. Yes or no? Do they have a potential to become an industry?

E. What will happen in the future?

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