5 December 17: The joy of Russian dolls

I remember playing with a friend’s Russian dolls as a child and never tiring of the thrill of cracking through each layer to finally find the baby. Matryoshka (from ‘mother’) dolls have been around since the 1800s and are traditionally painted in vibrant colours. This one I recently saw (top left) was very simple, style-wise, but often they are carrying something symbolic in their hands. For example, a loaf of bread (a symbol of welcome in Russia), a bowl of salt (representing welcome) or a bunch of flowers to represent the cities where the dolls were crafted. Nothing like a spot of symbolism.

Martha, The Colour File x

©Martha Roberts

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