Russian Nesting Dolls | Matryoshka

Russian nesting dolls or a matryoshka doll, is a set of dolls of decreasing sizes placed one inside the other. The word matryoshka is taken from the Russian female first name Matryona.
A set of
Russian nesting dolls consists of a wooden figure which separates, top from bottom, to reveal a smaller figure of the same sort inside, which has, in turn, another figure inside of it, and so on. The number of nested figures is traditionally at least five, but can be much more, up to several dozen with sufficiently fine craftsmanship.  The form is approximately cylindrical, with a rounded top for the head, tapering toward the bottom, with little or no protruding features; the dolls have no hands (except those that are painted). Traditionally the outer layer is a woman, dressed in a sarafan. The figures inside Russian nesting doll may be of either gender; the smallest, innermost doll is typically a baby lathed from a single small piece of wood (and hence non-opening). The artistry is in the painting of each doll, which can be extremely elaborate.
The first Russian nesting doll was created in the 1890's in the Children's Education Workshop in Abramtsevo near Moscow. This workshop brought together skilled craftsmen and professional artists who were capable of producing and preserving the peasant folk toys and dolls dressed in regional costumes. One artist on the team had the idea of making a wooden doll that opened up, revealing a series of nested figures inside.

Russian nesting dolls are often designed to follow a particular theme, for instance peasant girls in traditional dress, but the theme can be anything, from fairy tale characters to Soviet leaders.