one of my earliest childhood memories are the Matryoshka dolls (we were calling them back then, babushka ), me playing with them, the matryoshka is a set of dolls of decreasing sizes placed one inside the other, each is delicately painted in a similar way usually as the bigger doll...this sensation of opening one doll and finding a beautiful crafted similar yet smaller doll inside was a constant experience of happiness and wonder for me.
image source:colourlovers The first Russian matryoshka was turned and painted - according to a sample brought from Japan - in a Moscow toy workshop only in the 90s of the XIXth century. The Japanese original was manufactured with a great sense of humor. It consisted of a number of figurines stacking one inside the other and representing the Japanese Wiseman Fukuruma, a bold-headed old man with an oval-shaped head - the consequence of his deep meditations. As a rule, Russian matryoshkas depicted young ladies in Russian sarafans [peasant woman's dress] and shawls, holding baskets, flowers, bread-and-salt [traditional Russian sign of hospitality], etc.