Matryoshka dolls, also known as Babushka Dolls, Russian Tea Dolls, stacking dolls, or Russian Nesting Dolls are sets of wooden dolls of decreasing size which separate 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 name "matryoshka" means "little matron".
The first Russian nested doll set was believed to have been made in 1890 by wood turning craftsman and wood carver Vasily Zvyozdochkin. The figures inside may be of either 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.
Matryoshka dolls are often referred to as "babushka dolls", babushka meaning "grandmother" or "old woman"
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