What do we know about Russian wooden toys?
In Russia, poteshki, so called in those days toys, most often made of clay and wood. The doll is one of the first toys of antiquity. But time does not affect her: she is still loved by both children and adults.
The folk doll embodies in its image the characteristic features of the people who created it – this is the main value of the antique doll. The ancient doll at first glance is simple and unpretentious. However, in this seeming simplicity, many secrets and mysteries are hidden. In ancient times, the dolls also served as ritual symbols and amulets.
It was believed that they protected the person from evil forces and diseases, brought rich harvests, well-being, happiness. Wooden dolls are close to the traditions of pagan culture, they resemble wooden idols. In Moscow, the largest center for the production of wooden toys was Sergiev Posad.
As early as the 15th century in the Trinity-Sergius Lavra monks were engaged in wood turning and carving on it. According to legend, the first wooden toys in the Lavra were made by the abbot himself, Sergius of Radonezh, and gave them to the children of pilgrims. Toys from the Trinity-Sergievsky monastery were also brought to the royal court.
At one time, toys that amused peasant and royal children, came out of the same workshops. Wooden dolls were made of triangular logs. If they were intended to protect, then they were not cut facial features.
Masters of the Moscow region mostly made soldiers, monks, ladies, peddlers, hussars. About these toys V. Vasilenko wrote the following lines: Leaning his hand on a sword, Radiating heat, – From an ordinary piece of wood Made by a master hussar.
The master in Trinity Posad lived a hundred years ago, And toys for bread for the sake He cut out for the children. In the northern regions of Russia up to the 19th century, the ancient Russian way of life and the early ways of wood processing were preserved. There were the most ancient wooden toys – punks. The word punk comes from the word pung, meaning stem, root. These toys were made from a single piece of wood.
Presumably, they were the descendants of the wooden gods, who were in every house in Ancient Russia. One of the features of punks is the sketchiness of their forms. They were meant for small children.
Looking at this toy, the kid fantasized. For example, the image of a horse one day was seen by him as a heroic horse, on another – a simple peasant horse. Punk doll girls were dressed up in clothes with elements of folk costumes.
Ancient punk dolls also served as charms. In such cases, the features of the face were not cut out, or only slightly outlined, so that evil spirits could not dwell in them. Nowadays, craftsmen still make wooden pitches. For example, Igor Aleksandrovich Sapunkov, master of a turning wooden toy.
He lives near Rostov the Great. In his work on making toys his wife Irina helps. The wooden men of Sapunkov do not resemble one another: each of them has an individual look, and in each toy the masters put a piece of warmth and love for folk traditions.