I know, it is kind of silly, but I find these nesting dolls to be fascinating. And even though they came to Russia via Japan, they are everywhere to be found in Russia, and so many sorts to choose from. So yes, I did have to spend an inordinate time on my summer trip to Russia immersed in the culture that surrounds these nesting dolls.
I am not a big fan of the extravagantly numbered dolls nesting. I rather like the sets that are five, which is definitely on the diminutive size, although looking into shop windows and seeing these gigantic dolls that go on to birth thirty two ever diminishingly small versions of the original is something to behold, it was not something that fascinated me. The variety of painting styles, especially in the particularly finely made versions, was something that I loved. The faces are what hold the attraction for many, but for me it is the stomach design and the babushka. The most common abdominal adornment is flowers, but my two favorites were the iconic onion domes building paintings, and best of all, the fairy tales. The two that I brought home had a different component of a Russian fairy tales painted on each doll, bringing in a part of Russia's past that reaches farther back than the Matryoshka doll. And of course they had beautiful head scarves as well.