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Apr 10, 2009

My Cute Stamps Easter Giveaway!

My Cute Stamps is hosting a Giveaway of one of their absolutely precious stamp sets, Jelly Beans, in celebration of Easter Week. You can read about the the details over at the Creating Cupcakes blog.

My niece was born in Russia so My Cute Stamps Matryoshka Dolls stamp set has special meaning for me.

The Matryoshka dolls or Russian nested dolls is actually a set of dolls of decreasing sizes placed one inside the other. "Matryoshka" or Матрёшка is a derivative of the Russian female first name "Matryona" which was a very popular name among peasants in old Russia.

Matryoshkas date from 1890, and are said to have been inspired by souvenir dolls from Japan, however, the concept of nested objects was familiar in Russia, having been applied to carved wooden apples and Easter eggs. The first "Fabergé egg", in 1885, had a nesting of egg, yolk, hen, and chick.

A set of matryoshkas consists of a wooden figure which can be pulled apart to reveal another figure of the same sort inside. It has, in turn, another figure inside, and so on. The number of nested figures is usually five or more. The shape is mostly cylindrical, rounded at the top for the head and tapered towards the bottom, but little else; the dolls have no hands (except those that are painted). Traditionally the outer layer is a woman, dressed in a sarafan. Inside, it contains other figures that may be of both genders, usually ending in a baby that does not open. The artistry is in the painting of each doll, which can be extremely elaborate.

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

Pictured: The first original matryoshka set carved by Zvezdochkin and painted by Malyutin, located at the Sergiev Posad Museum of Toys, Russia.

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