Monday, May 20, 2013

Cross-Cultural Doll Match: Kokeshi vs. Matryoshka

If you were expecting a fight to the death, with chainsaws and axes blazing
between these two femme figurines,
with the victor standing over her slain opponent that now resides as a pile of toothpicks,
I'm sorry to break the news that my intentions are far from that fate for either
of these inspiration-filled creations.

I'm cashing in my cute card with this one.

As a girl, I grew up with a whole slew of dolls in my toy chest.
I went through many phases, but the ones that never lost their intrigue
were my Matryoshka and my Kokeshi.
I was hooked from the very beginning...
and as it would seem, I am far from alone.
In the past few years, these dolls have gone from children's play toys, 
to cult obsession, to fine art and high fashion!!
Who knew two tiny wooden dolls could make such a massive impact.
And, for some reason, both are of the wooden variety.

The Kokeshi and The Matryoshka:

The wheres and whens are a bit of a mystery when it comes to the creation of either of these iconic figurines.
Basically, these two distinctive dolls graced the presence of humankind about
150 to 200 years ago.
For an extensive history lesson, visit:

Mostly, they have been sold over the years as emblematic and interesting souvenirs. It didn't take them long to gain world-wide popularity, however, prompting a sense of nostalgia in the young and young-at-heart.
Appealing to our child-like awe for all things exotic, and of course cute, they have been adopted as collectibles by adults and children alike, some costing a very pretty penny.

And the interpretation keeps progressing in the modern era,
making it quite a challenge to narrow it all down.
Here is but a portion of the creme de la creme of this creative cross-cultural craze.

Fine Art
Check out how modern artists are redefining the decorative dolls:

Above and Below:
Doll Haus: The Modern Matryoshka
Above and Below: Gallery Nucleus: Kokeshi Dolls

Pistacchi Design

These are certainly not your grandma's wooden dolls.
Cutting-edge designes, but still delightfully adorable.
The child-like may be amiss, but the awe and intrigue 
are as present as ever.

Camilla d'Errico Kokeshi

Elsa Mora

Rockabilly Kokeshi by ToughLittleUrchin

Painting by Rommy Torrico

Vogue Russia 10th Anniversary Edition
Subtext Gallery

Some are super fierce.
Some are almost frightening. 
Some have a hint of fetish.
And others are just in-your-face

Bryan Rawling Erotic Russian Dolls Sculpture

This erotic interpretation of the nesting dolls appeared at the Hollywood Sex Museum
while it was still in it's glory days.
They are as big as they look.

Kokeshi Sculptures by James Watts

But these Kokeshi by James Watts are just as intimidating when it comes to scale,
just a little more toned-down
in the way of style.

If I've failed to portray the massive impact this models have had on the art world, 
perhaps these will portray their gargantuan influence:

Hanako the Giant Kokeshi
 @ Roppongi Art Night
Giant Matryoshka Display in Moscow’s
AFIMALL City shopping center

It's not King Kong...
these well-mannered monuments would never stray
outside of the their protective palaces.

Toys Galore
Fine art is just the beginning. These can be displayed in your home for a much more moderate price.

Sasha the Kokeshi Ninjette by Temple7e
Ninjas and Robots
@ Matryoshka Madness
Momiji Kokeshi Dolls

Sketch Inc. 'Little Neons" Matryoshka
Lucha Libre Matryoshkas @ Perpetual Kid

Ninjas, robots, and Luchadors
cover the taste of most of today's kids.
Even I couldn't resist the ninja nesters.

For something unique,
colorful and cute to boot,
custom works of art can be attained with just a little research.
(good ones to the right and below, hint hint)
Kokeshi by Julie West

Itsy Bitsy Kokeshi by Julie West @ My Plastic Heart

To take away the tedious nature of household chores,
these will make you whistle while you work.
Above and below :
Kokeshi Candles @ Hope&Me

These cute candles can be found in 
multiple colors
to match your at home mood.
Above and below:
S&P Ceramic Babushka Dolls @ Hope & Me

Kokeshi Lamp by MrMaria

Light up your life and 
drink it in...
everyday tasks get a face lift.

Drinkup Babushka Carafe Set
@ Fred Flare
Spitfire Girl Matryoshka Pillows

One of the only improvements left is to make them 
My Mimi Kokeshi Geisha Pillows

This is one way to enjoy time spent in the kitchen, if it must be done.

Limited Edition Red
Matryoshka Measuring Cups
Kokeshi Pink Apron
Matryoshka Oven Mitt

Kokeshi Sakura Mug @ Zazzle

High Fashion
For those with the finest taste, and pocket book to show it,
you don't have to sacrifice fun for frivolous.
Charlotte Olympia Anastasia Matryoshka Suede Sandal
Chanel Paris Shanghai Kokeshi Doll Earrings

Chanel Matryoshka Muff
Chanel Kokeshi Handbag

Body Artforms
And you can always be what you love, either for awhile or forever...
(Psst, this section is my fav!)
                                        Matryoshka Dolls Tattoo
Watermelon Kokeshi @ sideshowsito

Japanese Kokeshi Doll Makeup

Matryoshka Makeup
Fab Ur Nails
Kokeshi Nails
Kokeshi Tattoo
Matryoshka Makeup Inspiration

If you ask me, each of these blossoming babydolls has earned her place in the hearts and minds of millions.
Therefore the winner is:

Green Street Co. Folkart

The Mash-up!!!


  1. Привет! Мне бы хотелось открыть салон парикмахерскую. У кого-то из читательниц есть опыт в этом? Очень большой выбор оборудования для салонов красоты. Кто может помочь советом? Какой магазин лучше выбрать для то чтобы купить Игла Видаля и это Петля Видаля. Я выбираю среди этих магазинов,,,

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