Maidan Style Russian Nesting Dolls


Polkhovsky Maidan located to the south-west of Nizhny Novgorod, is a motherland of a special type of nesting dolls called Maidan style. The river Polkhovka in old times was wide and deep, it was surrounded by forests. That is why people chose this place to settle a new village. Now Polkhovka became a small stream meanwhile the village turned into a center of crafts.

The first matryoshka was made in Polkhovsky Maidan in 1930's, as other goods in that time the doll was made by poker work.

The craftsmen of Polkhovsky Maidan like the craftsmen of Semyonov use aniline dyes. The nesting dolls aka stacking dolls were pasted over, brightly painted before being coated with varnish. The colors of the Maidan style nesting dolls are generally brighter and more expressive than the colors used by Semenov artists, their ornaments are bigger as well.

Green, blue, yellow, violet and crimson colors are used to contrast each other, to make an expressive and bright ornament. The richness of the colors is achieved by super imposing one layer of dye on another.

The matryoshkas (nesting dolls) of Polkhov Maidan are handmade and hand painted in the older style that resemble children's drawings. It is a typical village beauty with knitted brows and a face framed in black locks. The ringlets of hair are a genuine element of local women's headdress.

Older women covered their hair with kokoshniks (type of Russian headdress), young girls used ribbons. Black drake's feathers were stuck in their headdresses. The painters of Polkhovsky Maidan pay special attention to floral ornament of the stacking dolls' aprons. Therefore the headdress and apron remain the main attributes of nesting dolls hand crafted by Maidan’s artists. "Roses" with many petals, wild flowers or ripe red strawberries are the main element of the aprons. The flowers are always considered to be the symbol of femininity, love and motherhood. Therefore, craftsmen add extra element to the nesting dolls’ pattern such as rose buds and green leaves. Those elements create a beautiful contrast and bouquet of colors which makes every Maidan style doll to look very attractive and beautiful.

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