What ever name you want to call them, these wooden dolls are absolutely addictive. For those who aren’t familiar, they are just hollow wooden dolls that usually come in sets of 5, that fit into each other, decreasing in size.The come in a variety of designs, and while they are usually women, I have found some wonderful Christmas and Vintage ones.
My obsession for this started when a neighbor of mine went to visit his family in India and brought back a wonderful set for me. It is a gorgeous set of women with green saris and a nose piercing! I have also found through my Google search a picture of the same set beside a number of other sets including a woman with a other colored saris, a Santa set, a Tiger set, Penguin set, Elephant set, and frog set. There a number of them that I hope to add to my collection some day! Click on the image to enlarge and see them up close. It is really how this Russian craft has spread to the rest of the world for new interpretations!
After I received my first nesting doll set, of course I had to discover more. My first and foremost obsession is Christmas and there is a ton of beautiful Christmas nesting dolls out there! If you are in Montreal and looking for some of these Christmas ones, you must stop in to the year-round Christmas store Noel Eternel in Old Montreal (http://www.noeleternel.com/). They have a number of them that are so beautiful…though crazy expensive of course. In the gallery below I will put a number of other Christmas nesting doll pictures.
My Second addition to my beginner collection are these Vintage Pirate nesting dolls I purchased today. My boyfriend and I dropped some clothes off at Salvation Army and in their window display I saw these vintage Pirates. We went in to inquire and the told us that the window display is only sold once a month. So today we woke up at 7 a.m and headed out to wait until the doors opened at 9 a.m. Luckily we were the second in line and the People in front of us were interested in cookbooks. I ran in and grabbed the set (despite a very nice girl who came just 10 minutes after us who was also after them :S), grabbed my boyfriends items and ran out. I was so happy to have grabbed them, while people came storming in the window display. After a good polish they came out beautiful. If you research them on the internet they are quite rare and actually come in a set of 5 with a little cook and monkey to complete the collection, so my hunt is not over! They had no price tag so when we got to the till, I was expected 15$ to pop up, but to our astonishment they only sold them for 1.99$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now THAT is a great day! My boyfriend ended up buying an Atari Flashback, and we also purchased a board game called Pirate and Traveler; clearly it was a pirate day (more pictures of purchases below)! I think we have discovered a new monthly tradition.
Now my hunt continues for nesting dolls new and old. I hope there is a set of Lucky Cat nesting dolls out there somewhere. Please look at the gallery below for other pictures of unique nesting dolls floating around the Net and Good Luck with your obsessive Hunting!
*UPDATE* Recently I had received messages regarding my vintage pirates, and got me curious again as to their history. When I started to google them I saw that someone on EBAY was selling a set of 3 pirates, which look like they are from the same producer as my three, but different characters. So I bid on those (and won! YAY), and saw that the seller was also selling a set of 4 of these new pirates, so of course I bid on those too (and won!! YAY!). So now my collection has expanded to 9 wooden vintage pirate nesting dolls!! I am so thrilled with them all. I was surprised at how much smaller they are than my original three, but I am never the less excited about these…and they are even more pirate-y!! If any of you reading this has any information on the history of these guys, please fill me in!! I would love to know where these come from.
*UPDATE 2014* – Thanks to Anthiny who commented below, I received more information that led me to re-search these guys. I THINK I know where they come from. From looking at similar ones (painting style is almost exact despite different themes), I believe the company Authentic Models Inc made these. There are TONS of different themes such as cats, clowns, farmers, etc.