Matryoshka Dolls



1993 Russian matryoshka set of 10 dolls representing FS.  $75 from josephcustomcues through eBay, Dec., '

This remarkable matryoshka, signed "Surko L"on the bottom of the largest doll, by the artist, is, according to the Ebay seller, an "authentic hand painted Russian Nesting Doll" originally purchased for $900.  As the seller claims, the colors are indeed vivid.  11" tall.  The diminishing dolls tell the story of FS, which is beloved as a folktale among Russians. All that is left after the the unfortunate tit-for-tat encounter is an empty soup bowl and an empty vase. Though the display below allows us to follow the story, viewers are reminded that each successive doll is about an inch shorter than the preceding doll.  Click on any doll to see a full-screen image.

















Artist's signature


1995? Yugoslavian set of 5 dolls including, on the outside doll, a representation of FS.  $20.50 from Diane Woodword, Glen Ann, MD, through eBay, July, '05. 

The elaborate development of the characters' clothing on the outside presentation of FS suggests the folktale that FS is in Eastern Europe.  We see the moment in which the stork presents food in a tall vase to the fox.  The artist chooses great local clothing for these animals!  The stories represented on the other four dolls are presumably folktales.  The smallest seems to represent a mustached man about to strike a dragon.  The second smallest features a goat and a lobster.  The third has a fox holding afish riding on a wolf, and the fourth pictures a woman holding a staff and a fisherman in a boat.  In each case, there is a concern to fill the "empty" side of the doll with engaging landscape consistent with the scene on the front.