Russian matryoshka doll
The word "matryoshka" or "little matron" is a diminutive form of the Russian female first name "Matryona".
The first Russian matryoshka doll set was carved in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin from a design by Sergey Malyutin, who was a folk crafts painter. Malyutin's doll consisted of eight dolls. The biggest doll was a girl in a traditional dress which held a black rooster. Other dolls were smaller (girls and a boy), and the smallest was a baby.
Zvyozdochkin and Malyutin inspired by a doll from Honshu, the main island of Japan. Sources differ in descriptions of the doll, but they describing it as either a round, hollow daruma doll or a fukuruma nesting doll, portraying a portly bald old Buddhist monk.
A set of matryoshkas consist of a wooden figure which separates, top from bottom, to reveal a smaller figure of the same sort inside, which has, in turn, another figure inside of it, and so on. The number of nested figures is traditionally not less than five, but can be more. The form is approximately cylindrical, with a rounded top for the head, tapering toward the bottom, with few or no protruding features; the dolls have no hands (except those that are painted). Traditionally it is a woman, dressed in a sarafan. The figures inside may be of either gender; the smallest, innermost doll is typically a baby lathed from a single small piece of wood (and hence non-opening). The artistry is in the painting of each doll, which can be extremely elaborate.
Nowadays author's art of dolls has gained rapid development.