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15-Year Old From Moscow Creates a Greek Matryoshka Doll

Greek Matryoshka
The Greek Matryoshka dolls. Credit: Katerina Dimidou, Natalia Nicolaou via AMNA

Katerina Dimidou, a fifteen-year-old girl who lives in Moscow, created recently a Matryoshka doll dressed in the colors of a traditional Greek woman.

The creation of this popular Russian doll will take part in the “Mission Matryoshka” exhibition of the Museum of Applied Arts in the Russian capital Moscow, from May 21 to August 1.

There, the Greek girl’s creation will compete alongside other Matryoshka dolls from all of Russia’s regions as well as countries such as Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, and Vietnam.

“Matrioska is a favorite toy and an unforgettable souvenir associated with the Russian tradition. “It is a wooden doll, which charms all people with its beauty” Dimidou told Greece’s AMNA news agency recently.

The Greek Matryoshka is dressed with a traditional female costume from Thessaly named ”Karaguna”. When asked why she chose to dress her Russian doll with a karaguna, the 15-year-old said: ‘I chose it because it is something humble and simple. That is why I chose Karagouna from central Greece; I believe it looks like other women in traditional costumes from Pontus, Crete, Thrace, and Epirus.

The base of her costume that was painted on the doll consists of a shirt decorated with embroidery on the cuffs, around the collar, on the hem, and on the sleeves

With a pleated skirt decorated with embroidery along the leg, the traditional Thessalian vest, a rectangular “lobe” and a belt with a large metal buckle tied around the waist.

On the head, the Greek Matryoshka appears to have a black handkerchief folded diagonally in half, so that the decorative corner hangs from the back. Gold pounds hang on the handkerchief, as well as from other parts of the costume.

What are Matryoshka Dolls?

Matryoshkas are a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another. The name matryoshka, literally “little matron”, is a diminutive form of the Russian female first name “Matryona or “Matryosha’’.

A set of matryoshkas consists of a wooden figure, which separates at the middle, 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 first Russian nested doll set was made in 1890 by woodturning craftsman and woodcarver Vasily Zvyozdochkin from a design by Sergey Malyutin, who was a folk crafts painter at Abramtsevo.

Traditionally the outer layer is a woman, dressed in a sarafan, a long and shapeless traditional Russian peasant jumper dress.

The figures inside may be of any gender; the smallest, innermost doll is typically a baby turned from a single piece of wood.

Much of the artistry is in the painting of each doll, which can be very elaborate. The dolls often follow a theme; the themes may vary, from fairy tale characters to Soviet leaders.

In the west, matryoshka dolls are often referred to as babushka dolls, babushka meaning “grandmother” or “old woman.”

With information from AMNA

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