One of the more popular dolls around the world are Russian matryoshka dolls which is a set of wooden dolls that have one doll inside another and so on and so forth. The name “matryoshka” meaning “little matron” and is a diminutive form of the Russian girls’ name “Matryona” or “Matriosha.” Outside Russia, these are known as nesting dolls. Anyway, the original nesting doll set was carved in 1890 by Vasily Petrovich Zvyozdochkin and designed by folk crafts painter Sergey Vasilyevich Malyutin in Abramstevo. These men were inspired by a doll from Japan’s Honsu which may have been a hollow daruma doll of a Buddhist monk or a Seven Lucky Gods nesting doll. So it’s possible the popular doll sets associated with Russian arts and crafts could’ve had roots in Japan.Traditionally, the outer layer is a woman in Russian peasant garb but the figures inside can be of either gender. The smallest, innermost doll is usually a baby carved from a single piece of wood. A lot of the artistry is used in the painting of each doll which can be very elaborate. And each nesting doll set often follows a theme which can range from fairy tale characters, holiday decorations, and even Soviet leaders. For instance, my family has a nesting doll set of nutcrackers they sometimes use for Christmas. Today you can see nesting dolls covering just about anything which part of why I’m doing this post. There are even nesting doll sets from craft stores you can paint yourself. So for your reading pleasure, enjoy these unique Russian nesting doll sets.
- With these Devo nesting dolls, you must whip it, whip it good.
This 1980s band was best recognized by their trademark hats. So doing a nesting doll set of the lineup wasn’t difficult.
2. Let yourself go with these nesting dolls from Frozen.
This set has Elsa, Anna, Kristoph, Hands, and Olaf in descending order. And each is well painted.
3. This nesting doll set is particularly presidential.
This one just has the presidential hits. Why FDR, Teddy Roosevelt, James Madison, LBJ, or Richard Nixon weren’t included, I have no idea. Also, Ben Franklin wasn’t a president.
4. Henry VIII and his six wives always make for a great set of 7.
Henry VIII is the biggest while each wife is depicted in descending order. Sorry if Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard don’t come with detachable heads.
5. Mexicans who celebrate Dia de los Muertos can’t do without this nesting doll set.
Each one is depicted as skulls as specified. Make great decorations on any Mexican shelf.
6. This nesting doll set pays tribute to Charlie Chaplin as the Little Tramp.
Of course, one doll depicts him as he normally looked like. But as an old movie buff, I find this set awesome.
7. If you like horror comedy, this Addams family nesting doll set is a delight.
Sure it doesn’t include Lurch and Uncle Fester. But it does consist of Gomez, Morticia, and their kids.
8. This nesting doll set was made for cat fanciers in mind.
A must have for the crazy cat ladies of lore. A set of 5 cat breeds.
9. Seems like we have a US and Russian crew on this space shuttle.
Yes, it’s a crew of 4. But the largest doll is a shuttle. How cool is that?
10. From the world of Roald Dahl, no one can resist this Charlie and the Chocolate Factory set.
Includes Willy Wonka, Charlie, the 4 brats, and an Oompah-Loompah. Great for inducing nightmares from children.
11. A set of Sesame Street nesting dolls is all you need to learn your ABCs.
However, I think Big Bird should be the biggest doll, not Elmo. Also, Bert and Ernie should be shown together. But whoever made this wanted to use different colors. Cookie Monster should be bigger as well.
12. On the child unfriendly side, there’s a nesting doll set from South Park.
This one depicts the main boys as well as Mr. Poop. Please don’t ask.
13. Minion fans will enjoy a nesting doll set like these.
Well, to be fair, minions aren’t hard to paint since they’re mostly yellow. Still, these are adorable.
14. Nesting doll fans should take a look at these painted owls.
Each owl is painted in a rather stylized fashion. But each is special in its own way. Then again, owl nesting dolls are probably not hard.
15. The theme of this nesting doll set is a costumed cat family.
Each of them seem to be in Renaissance costume. I think this is based off an artist who does anthropomorphic cat paintings.
16. These nesting dolls are afraid of no ghost.
Kind of bummed they don’t have the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in this Ghostbusters line up. Well, you can’t win them all.
17. These ninja nesting will make you never see what’s coming.
After all, you don’t expect them to wear outfits in 5 different colors. Or be so adorable. Love it.
18. Civil War buffs would appreciate this nesting doll set of Union generals.
However, I’d take out George B. McClellan and Irving McDowell because one lost the Second Battle of Bull Run while the other was a perpetual chickenshit. Replace with Philip Sheridan and George H. Thomas. Or David Farragut.
19. This Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle set will make you say, “Cowabunga!”
Has the 4 Ninja Turtles and their mentor. Yes, Ninja Turtle fans, this set exists.
20. Teachers will surely appreciate a nesting doll set like this on their desks.
Each teacher has a tool to teach with in this set of 5. Not sure if they have one for guys. Probably not.
21. Florida Gators fans will enjoy this nesting doll set.
Yes, they have college sports ones as well as professional. Not sure who the players are under the helmets. Not that I care.
22. This owl set will surely be a hoot.
Yes, this is another owl nesting doll set. But these are painted more realistically. And I’m sure they’re not from North America.
23. What better way to honor Team USA during the Sochi Winter Olympics than with this nesting doll set?
I would’ve went with the Russian Rio set. But I found the wood on those dolls tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.
24. These firefighter nesting dolls are always to the rescue.
The large one even has its own hat. One even depicts a fireman in action. Includes dalmatian and fire hydrant.
25. If you’re Jewish, Russian, and like Marc Chagall, this set is for you.
Marc Chagall was a famous modernist artist who worked with several artistic styles in several artistic mediums. Part of his art was based on Eastern European Jewish folk culture.
26. Since there are so many lighthouses, there has to be a nesting doll set for them.
Noticed how the lighthouses are in different colors and styles. I guess the stripes seem to increase their visibility.
27. This nativity nesting doll set is perfect for Christmas at any home.
There are a lot of nativity scene nesting doll sets out there. This one was made for small children. So cute.
28. Nurses will appreciate this nesting doll set.
Notice how each nurse is dressed in a different way. And how each one of them handles different things.
29. Fans of Greek mythology will totally want this set of nesting dolls.
This mostly consist of mythological creatures. Not sure who or what that guy in the loin cloth is supposed to be.
30. This snowman family is all smiles in winter.
Guess this one isn’t hard to make. Still, I bet they’re all singing Christmas carols since two of them are holding books.
31. No nesting doll can be complete without a set of the King.
I may not be a fan of Elvis. But I know that many readers will appreciate these dolls. Doesn’t include his Vegas years.
32. For fairy tale sets, this Little Red Riding Hood one is worth howling over.
Includes all the known characters. However, what most people don’t know is that this children’s story originally didn’t have a happy ending. And it had sexual connotations.
33. This horror nesting doll set will give you a good scare.
These seem like extras from The Nightmare Before Christmas. But I’ll allow it. Great for those who love a good scare.
34. Not to be outdone, the Confederate side has nesting doll generals of their own.
I suppose James Longstreet is the smallest one because he became a Republican and civil rights advocate after the war. Not to mention, he didn’t think the South could win and was right.
35. This Happy Hoots nesting doll family will make you smile.
Yes, this is my third owl nesting doll set. But these have different colors on them. So I couldn’t pass it up.
36. Speaking of nesting dolls, these chickens are only fitting.
Comes with one rooster, 3 hens, and a chick. Great for down on the farm.
37. For dogs like these, it’s up to them to destroy the One Collar to rule them all.
This nesting doll set depicts dogs as Lord of the Rings characters. I know it’s crazy, right?
38. If you don’t like Ninja Turtles, a regular turtle set would do just fine.
Because while real turtles aren’t fit to be ninjas, they can be quite cool. Each one here has a unique shell.
39. For Queen fans, this nesting set will rock you.
Depicts each member of Queen and their logo. There are lots of songs from this group that get stuck in your head.
40. Those who grew up loving The Wizard of Oz will enjoy this set of nesting dolls.
Includes Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion. I know it’s not the best but it’s the least scary rendition.
41. This Pink Floyd nesting doll set belongs on the dark side of the moon.
Wait, that group had 5 members. Why does this set depict 4? Maybe because Syd Barrett left the group early.
42. While some nesting doll sets are nativity scenes, this one depicts the life of Christ.
You have a lot of these sets, too. Usually they start at the nativity. This one depicts some of Jesus’s miracles and the Good Samaritan.
43. You have to have a hard heart not to appreciate this nesting doll set of woodland creatures.
Well, one of them is a chick while 2 are insects. But the others are a fox, rabbit, and owl. Probably made for kids.
44. A Van Gogh nesting doll set is great for anyone with a lust for life.
Shows Van Gogh’s self-portrait with 4 of his best known paintings. All of which didn’t earn him a dime.
45. For Will and Kate’s wedding, these nesting dolls are best desired.
Consists of Will and Kate, Elizabeth II and Philip, Charles, Diana, and Harry. All in a red background.
46. Since nesting dolls are from Russia, it’s only fair I present you a set of modern Russian leaders.
Soviet and otherwise to get my drift, starting with Lenin. But Putin is included.
47. This nesting doll set of Goldilocks and the Three Bears is just right.
Like how they made all the bears bigger than Goldilocks. She really should’ve known not to break into a bear home.
48. From New Zealand, is this set of Maori nesting dolls.
The Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand who do exist (unlike Hobbits). They’re known for their striped grass skirts.
49. Fans of Wes Anderson will adore this nesting doll set of the Grand Budapest Hotel.
Depicts characters from the hit Wes Anderson movie that should’ve won the Oscar for Best Picture. Still, this is great.
50. No, I don’t think this is a set of ninja nesting dolls.
These are nesting dolls of Muslim women in the Middle East. Well, at least ones wearing a chador that only shows the eyes.
51. Russian nesting doll beauties always look great in furs.
Well, they seemed to dress quite fancy. But Russian winters can be quite brutally cold.
52. These painted women nesting dolls seem as immortal on wood as they are on canvas.
I guess these are from Renaissance paintings since they depict the Virgin Mary. Not to mention, a bunch of women dressed from the 16th century.
53. As with nesting dolls, burlesque involves multiple layers.
As you can see how each succeeding doll has less and less clothes on. The last one is totally nude.
54. No one can resist this panda bear nesting doll family.
I don’t think pandas live in groups like that for they’re solitary creatures. But this set is adorable.
55. This Obama First Family nesting doll set is sincerely presidential.
Let’s just say I’ll miss this bunch after Obama is out of office. This is especially if Mr. Hamsterhair gets elected president which I think will be an absolute nightmare.
56. This nesting doll set is among the best from the Hundred Acre Wood.
Includes Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Owl, and Piglet. Not sure if the Eeyore one had a great paint job.
57. These dog nesting dolls seem all ready for a feast.
Seems like they are. Each seems to have their own dish according to breed. Viewers will adore this.
58. This dog nesting doll set is even loved by man’s best friend.
A lot of dog nesting doll sets seem to show single breeds. This one doesn’t which is why I put it on this post.
59. The Dark Knight of Gotham always needs his own nesting doll set.
This set is from the Dark Knight Saga. Features Bane, Catwoman, and the Joker.
60. If you like Russian fairy tales, these nesting dolls are just the thing.
Since nesting dolls are from Russia, it’s only fair. The large one has the gorgeous Firebird.
61. This nesting doll set depicts the planets of the Solar System.
This is sorted by size, by the way. And in accordance with most scientists, Pluto is not included.
62. Though Russian, nesting dolls can depict a variety of different cultures. This set is from Africa.
Probably from the sub Saharan region but I can’t say where. But you have to admire the colorful outfits.
63. For Czarist nostalgia, you have this Royal family nesting doll set.
Just remember that this set depicts a family that would all be killed by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution. Let that sink in.
64. These Disney Princess nesting dolls have all the royal touches.
Sure Mulan, Pocahontas, and Tiana aren’t included. But they’re not exactly princesses per se. Then again, Elsa is actually a queen.
65. Another Wes Anderson nesting doll set is from the Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
It’s about a Jacques Cousteau like captain and his crew. But they all seem to wear the same outfit.
66. When it comes to nesting dolls, you never know how many can fit inside each other.
Most nesting doll sets usually consist of 5-8 dolls. But this one has almost infinite that you can barely see the smallest one.
67. These ninja nesting dolls all wear black and gold.
Yes, it’s another ninja nesting doll set. But these are dressed and black and have knives on them.
68. If you like animals and Wes Anderson, these Fantastic Mr. Fox nesting dolls will delight.
Includes all the critters you know and love from the stop motion Fantastic Mr. Fox. Adorable.
69. For these Gustav Klimt nesting dolls, each one has a masterpiece.
Klimt seems to have his way with colors, doesn’t he? His kiss is the most famous.
70. For Christmas, this nesting doll set is perfect decoration.
Then again, this might consist of more than one. But I really like the Christmas tree.
71. This second season Blackadder set is great for all your cunning plans.
This is great. Has Blackadder, Queenie, Lord Percy, Nursie, and Baldrick. Love it.
72. No one can resist these penguin nesting dolls that can melt a frozen heart.
About time, I included a penguin nesting doll set. Because these creatures are adorable. Love the beaks and tuxedos.
73. With this nesting doll set of Muhammad Ali, your shelf will truly be the greatest.
Yes, this depicts Muhammad Ali who died not to long ago. Doesn’t hurt if I put this on my post. RIP
74. Guess these nesting dolls can be nun too holy.
As it turns out this is a set of nun nesting dolls. Guess these were easy to paint. So cute.
75. Though these hot air balloon nesting dolls can’t fly, they sure delight.
Now that’s a rather clever concept. Like how each one has a different pattern. Lovely.
76. If you like old horror movies, then this set is the one for you.
Includes Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Mummy. Guess Wolf Man fans will be disappointed.
77. Snoopy fans will adore these Peanuts nesting dolls.
Well, it has Snoopy with his friends. Each one has a different color. Adorable.
78. Follow the life of Christ with this nesting doll set.
Like I said before, Jesus’s life is a popular nesting doll theme. This one depicts it in chronological order.
79. This nesting doll set has all the iconography.
Well, iconography from Russian and Eastern European churches. Some figures may repeat.
80. Sometimes colors and abstract concepts can be well suited for nesting dolls.
This one depicts rainbow colors with each sporting a unique pattern. Guess it’s easier than painting a face.
81. If you liked Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, you can’t resist nesting dolls like these.
The dwarves on here seem considerably smaller than Snow White. But that’s to be expected.
82. This set of nesting dolls depicts a group that set off the British Invasion in the 1960s.
Yes, these are the Beatles possibly from 1967. Though they’re not in their Sergeant Pepper gear at this point.
83. Speaking of the Beatles, these nesting dolls all live in a yellow submarine.
It’s from the cartoon they were in during the late 1960s. So having a nesting doll set of Yellow Submarine is inevitable.
84. Hello Kitty fans can’t resist nesting doll set like this.
Each is depicted in a shade of pink and purple. Each features Hello Kitty in a different outfit.
85. For Christmas you can’t do without a nesting doll set of Good St. Nick.
Each of these has a different Santa though their faces mostly look the same. And so do their clothes.
86. This nesting doll set is boldly going where no man has gone before.
The Scotty and Dr. McCoy nesting dolls don’t seem to look right on this. Also, there’s no Chekov.
87. These robot nesting dolls might be metal but they’ll melt your heart.
Each one has a different machine configuration. One may be radioactive.
88. This Game of Thrones nesting doll set has a wide range of characters.
Remember that some of these will not be coming back next season. But the show’s really popular so I have it on here.
89. For Nightmare Before Christmas fans, these nesting dolls are a must have.
Who knew that you’d have a nesting doll set for this. Oogie Boogie is the biggest one here.
90. On Middle Earth, this is the nesting doll set to rule them all.
This one is of the Fellowship of the Ring from Lord of the Rings. Notice the the Ring is the smallest piece.
91. These nesting dolls are coming for your brains.
Man, these zombie nesting dolls surely look hideous. Doesn’t help that it has a bloody brain.
92. If you like Stanley Kubrick, this Clockwork Orange nesting doll set is for you.
Personally, I prefer to see ones of Barry Lyndon, Spartacus, or Dr. Strangelove. Yet, know that A Clockwork Orange is a very violent movie. Very violent.
93. This Harry Potter nesting doll set will make you the pride of Hogwarts.
This mainly consist of Hogwarts students. Looks like Draco Malfoy has the smallest piece.
94. This Fab Four nesting doll set is a true collectors’ item.
Yes, it’s another Beatles nesting doll set. But this one depicts them early in their career. That’s different.
95. This Apple Steve Jobs nesting doll set is truly revolutionary.
Each doll has Jobs holding a different item. Smallest one has the icon.
96. These Batman nesting dolls are surely imposing.
Each one is of Batman in his batsuit and bat logo. Don’t ask. Clever.
97. This nesting doll set has all the czars.
Well, all the czars you probably know. And some that you don’t but should.
98. These modern art nesting dolls are a treat to look at.
I think they’re supposed to be in the style of Malevich. Have no idea who that is.
99. From Pixar, these Inside Out nesting dolls are a great fit.
This one has all the feelings in Riley’s head. Includes Joy, Fear, Disgust, Sadness, and Anger.
100. Finally, you can’t possibly do without a nesting doll set of nutcrackers.
Doesn’t exactly look like the one my family has. But as far as nesting doll Christmas decorations go, it will do.