Semionov town became quite a big matryosh-ka
making centre. This type of matryoshka is called Semionovskaya.r
Among contributors to the matryoshkas of Semionov are the Mayorovs.
They were a toy making family from the village of Merinovo,
located near Semionov. The masters of Merinovo were always famous
for their turning wares. They made wooden utensils, rattles,
balls and apples. In 1922 Arsenty Fedorovich Mayorov brought
an unpainted matryoshka from the fair in Nizhny Novgorod. His
elder daughter Luba used a quill to make an outline and coloured
it with red dye. She placed a bright red flower resembling an
oxeye daisy in the centre. She painted a kokoshnik on the matryoshka's
head. Almost twenty years the matryoshka makers of Merinovo
were the best in the area of Nizhny Novgorod. In 1 93 1 an artel
which made souvenirs including matryoshkas was established in
Gradually a distinct matryoshka
type of Semionov was developed. It was more decorative and
symbolic than the matryoshkas of Sergiev Posad. Semionov's
traditions go back to the floral ornament of ancient Russia.
The painters of Semionov used aniline dyes. They left quite
a lot of unpainted space and varnished matryoshkas. First
of all, light touches of the brush mark the outlines of the
face, eyes, the lines of the lips and apply color to the cheeks.
Then a skirt, an apron, a scarf on the matryoshka’s head and
hands are drawn
An apron is considered to be the main thing
in painting of Semionov. A bright bouquet of flowers is painted
on it. It is possible to recognize the technique of old Russian
masters. The early matryoshkas of Semionov were more in the
spirit of old Russian painting traditions, the lines were
more graphic and lighter. Later the bouquet was suffused with
the sap of the grass, and became more dense, colorful and
graphic. At present, three colors predominate in the decorations
- red, blue and yellow which appear in various combinations
in the scarf, sarafan and apron. The colour solution of the
bouquet is the main feature in the matryoshkas of Semionov.
It sets the tone for the whole colour scheme. Traditionally,
the bouquet is painted on the aprone asymmetrically, bit to
the right of the centre. The decoration of the matryoshkas
of Semionov is original and unique. A painter brings something
new to each matryoshka style. The matryoshkas of the Volga
area bear an imprint of ancient, folk culture which is developed
by modern craftsmen. The turners of Semionov invented their
own shape of matryoshka which differs from the matryoshkas
of Sergiev Posad. It is more slender, it has a relatively
thin top which widens sharply into a thick bottom.
The matryoshkas of Semionov are famous for
containing many pieces (15-18 varicoloured dolls). The biggest
matryoshka which contains 72 pieces-0.5 m (1.5 feet) in diameter
and 1 m (3 feet) high =was turned in Semionov.
'Russian Lad' and 'Russian Lass' twin matryoshkas
are very original. They are more slender than usual matryoshkas
of Semionov, dressed in traditional Russian costumes: the
lass wears a scarf instead of kokoshnik and the lad wears
a peaked cap. 'The Russian woman', 'The Good Family Man',
'The Russian Lad' and others are famous matryoshkas of Semionov.
The craftsmen turned and painted matryoshkas at home till
1929. Then the craftsmen of Semionov and nearby villages formed
a toy-making artel. Initially it included not more than 20
people. Now souvenir workshops of Semionov are the biggest
centre in Russia where matryoshkas are made.