Art Kaleidoscope

Between art and craft

Russian folk wooden toys

Set 'Trinity-Sergius Lavra'. SN Moyunov and NV Petrov, Sergiev Posad, 2001 Wood, painting, metal

Set ‘Trinity-Sergius Lavra’. SN Moyunov and NV Petrov, Sergiev Posad, 2001 Wood, painting, metal

First of all, known since ancient times, Russian folk wooden toys are inextricably linked to cultural, folkloric and household characteristics of the corresponding historical period and the region of their production. Archaeologists have discovered evidence that wooden toys were still in East Slavic tribes in the IX century BC. However, confirmation of this presents only in historical documents. Unfortunately, samples of toys almost did not survive due to the peculiarities of wood as a material. Even the works of the masters of the XVIII century reached the present in very small quantities, and, of course, kept in the museums.

'Moss people' toys were enthusiastically received at the Paris Exhibition in 1890

‘Moss people’ toys were enthusiastically received at the Paris Exhibition in 1890

Inextricably linked to the forest, the wood carved figures are mostly in the form of forest dwellers. It’s a bird, animal or fictional characters of folklore – “Mokhoviki” (Moss people) depicting lumberjacks or old women with fagots on the back. By the way, at the Paris Exhibition in 1890 ‘Moss people’ toys became a sensation.

Meanwhile, Russian style Wooden figurines made by a craftswoman Anna are always colorful and bright. And, of course, these toys are very popular with children. Anna’s crafts teach kids that beautiful toys is not only beauty, but also the history of our people. The master continues the tradition of painting on wood.

With the development of industry and the invention of plastic, wooden toys gradually receded into the background. Bright and light plastic dolls, cubes and pyramids replaced them. And for a long time wooden toys were just souvenirs, not directly intended for the game. Recently, due to the increased attention to environmental products for children, wooden toys are again gaining former popularity. In addition, according to psychologists, simple and even primitive form of wooden toys have a better impact on the child than plastic toys with lots of small details.

Russian folk wooden toys

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