It was with great sadness that I read in The Age newspaper a few days ago, that the future of the Russian Nesting doll, properly known as "matroyshka" and fondly known as "Babushka" is now uncertain.
Sergiyev Posad, 80 kilometres north of Moscow, is considered the birthplace of the matryoshka. But factories that have produced the dolls for decades are struggling to stay in business, and this distinctly Russian tradition — may soon be lost. The first matryoshka is said to have been made here in the 1890s, after a local craftsman saw a set of Japanese stacking dolls in the likeness of a Buddhist deity and created a Russian version in the form of a matronly peasant woman. "It's difficult to compete with the Chinese and these plastic toys," complained Aleksander Kurennoy, director of the Aofis factory, which has been making matryoshki since 1947. (photo above Washington Post)
At Honeybee Toys, we truly love the art of handcrafted toys, and would be very disappointed to see such a beautiful tradition die. We always ensure that our Russian Nesting Dolls are Made in Russia using local craftspeople; not cheap copies from Chinese factories (where the workers are most likely not paid properly in the first place). We have lots more Babushka's in our stores than we do on our website, but I will try to upload some more over the next few weeks, they are such a lovely toy - I kept my own fondly for 40 years and have now passed it on to my own daughters.
In the meantime, I hope consumers will support Russian craftspeople by buying the "real deal".