Are All Nesting Dolls From Russia?

I was participating in a holiday gift show in Portland this weekend and I find that the confusion about where nesting dolls come from remains somewhat prevalent.  There were visitors that thought they were from Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, to name the most common places I heard.  Although I attempted to clarify, it was interesting to hear one lady being adamant that they are from Germany because her daughter visited Germany and brought her one back.

It is true that there are some dolls that are created in these countries – where they have applied the same principles as the predominantly-made Russian dolls – but have created their own motifs.  There are a few things that are specifically distinctive about a few of the countries’ creations that help you identify where they are from.

Urkrainian Nesting DollsUkrainian dolls tend to be relatively simple in shape – often representing a bullet.  The set pictured here is typical of the shape found in Ukranian dolls.  Also, you can see the attire that is specifically painted – which is distinctive Ukrainian.  This doesn’t mean that a Russian doll couldn’t have the same painting.  But, when you take the shape AND the painting style, combined, you can easily conclude that the doll was made in the Ukraine.

Plish Nesting DollsPolish dolls are almost the opposite of Ukrainian dolls.  The dolls typically have a more complex shaping to them, but a relatively simple painting style.  That is apparent in the picture shown here of some Polish-made nesting dolls.  Again, no single attribute will necessarily be the way to identify if a doll is from a particular country.  It is a combination of features that the trained eye looks for.

I don’t have samples to show of Czech-made or Germany-made nesting dolls.  I found some samples of dolls supposedly made in Hungary, but they look exactly like dolls that I have in inventory that are very much from Russia.  I believe that what I found, in fact, are Russian-made dolls being sold in Germany.
Just because you get a doll from a country, doesn’t mean the doll is FROM that country.  Australians, for instance, purchase dolls from me all the time.  That shouldn’t make someone think that my doll was made in the United States – similar to the lady who swears the doll purchased in Germany was, therefore, made in Germany.

Hope this blog provides the reader a bit of insight into some various origins of nesting dolls and how they can be very distinctive in nature.  This blog isn’t all the information a person needs to be an expert on the topic, but gives them the start needed for fun exploration into the topic!

Published on December 3, 2014.

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