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Where did the matryoshka come from?

Many consider this wooden toy, which is at the same time a subject, and sometimes a piece of folk art, exclusively Russian.
Among those who were interested in the history of the appearance of nesting dolls, there is a widespread version that their production was started in the 1890s, after the figure of the sage Fukurum was brought to the “Child education” workshop founded by the philanthropist Savva Mamontov. A sort of good-natured grandfather with a bald head, who, according to Japanese tradition, patronizes happiness, prosperity and wisdom.
Others were also inserted into the hollow figurine, also depicting heavenly beings, in whose protection man needs for a safe life. The idea interested Russian masters. Turner Vasily Zvezdochkin carved similar figures from the tree, which also invested in one another. Artist S. Malyutin painted them in the Russian manner. The biggest doll became a ruddy girl in a flowered shawl, a bright sundress, and with a black rooster in her hand.
Inside it were smaller dolls, boys and girls, and the smallest, the eighth, portrayed a swaddled baby. In 1900, Russian nesting dolls were already on display in Paris, prompting a real matryoshka boom, before the Europeans liked them. In the early 1900s. the workshop “Children’s Education” was closed, but the production of dolls began to continue in Sergiev Posad.
The demand for them did not fall. At the Leipzig Fair in 1911, even a Japanese fake was discovered, a toy insert styled as a matryoshka, but with oriental features and not painted. What kind of dolls did not make resourceful craftsmen! For example, nicknamed “walkers”. Their legs were shod in sandals, and they could move on an inclined plane.
Later, the dolls “jumped” on the New Year trees, glass, ceramic and other analogues appeared. Sergievskaya, Semenovskaya, Merinovskaya, Polkhovskaya, Vyatskaya – each school has its own characteristics and characteristics. Finally, relatives appeared at the matryoshka doll: Vanka-vstanka and Masha-nevalyasha.
But back to the question of the origin of the popular toys. Supporters of Japanese descent sometimes argue with supporters of the Chinese. The latter claim that the liner-doll came to the Country of the Rising Sun from the Middle Kingdom, where it was known before. The ancient Egyptians are silent for obvious reasons.
For them, however, archeologists speak out. And if earlier the sarcophagi of the pharaohs, nested into each other, were cited as arguments, at the beginning of the 21st century there was something else. During the excavation of the tomb is not the most famous figures from the XVIII dynasty – Ratatusana scientists found a clay cylinder, closed with a lid, with a diameter of about fifteen centimeters and a height of about forty.
It was a wooden pear-shaped doll, painted and varnished. She portrayed … Pharaoh Amenhotep IV and was detachable. Inside was a smaller figure, also easily recognized by archaeologists: Amenhotep III. Raising the top half of the pharaoh, they saw the face of Amenhotep II, which was the image of Ramses IV. In total there were 11 figures, the smallest – three centimeters tall. And she did not give in to attribution of personality and portrayed a bearded man with a pipe in his mouth.
The leader of the expedition, Dr. S. Liman, called the discovery a rare and sensational one, he also asked the question: “Where does the Russian matryoshka come from in Ancient Egypt?” Another question: “Why do wooden inserts have a sequence that does not correspond to the chronology of the pharaohs?” These are the surprises. And what interests me is: how, not knowing anything about Egyptian dolls, our compatriots, starting from the time of perestroika, also began to depict the leaders of the country in the form of dolls: from Lenin to Putin.
Who has not seen such trays, especially intended for foreign guests? By the way, the Etrurian researchers also say that the dolls were inherent in this culture. Disagreement prevails when discussing the name of our wooden beauty with many children. Some refer to the name Matrona, common in Russia, others hint at Roman roots (matron is a noble lady, mater is mother), while others associate it with the name of Hindu mother goddess Matri. There are already two Russian doll museums in Russia – in Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod. Let her story be stored and arrive, revealing at least a little of the riddles that it presents.

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