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Matryoshka & Kokeshi

Babushka or matryoshka you ask? The answer is most certainly matryoshka. The word and that spelling can mean "little matron" and is used to refer to nesting dolls (matreshki) in Russia. Once, Matriyosha and Matryona we popular girl names in Russian derived from the Latin "mater" for "mother". Babushka is the Russian word for "grandmother" so its use to describe nesting dolls is common, but not entirely accurate.

Dating from the original set created in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin and Sergey Malyutin, nesting dolls have become iconic to Russia. The concept is thought to have derived from the earlier work of Japanese artisans making kokeshi dolls which occassionally hid one doll within another ... although the origins remain disputed.

Geppetto's Workshop goes to great length to understand and be sure of our sourcing origins for our Russian made matryoshka. The timber is often lime, linden, birch or alder which is plantation grown, harvested when sappy and let dry and stabilize for 2 years. Each piece of each doll is hand turned on a lathe and fitted uniquely to its matching half and the dolls within starting with the smallest first. No set is identical. Most are painted by ladies who work as their mothers did ... during school hours and often together in social settings.

A classic Russian gift, a matryoshka is a gesture of "good health to you" by representing generations of ladies and their children ... all looking healthy and portly.