Wooden toys

Russian Souvenirs / Wooden Toys

Russian folk wooden toys have been known since ancient times. They are inextricably linked to cultural, household and folklore features of the corresponding historical period and region, where their production is. However, confirmation of this can be found only in historical documents, samples of toys almost did not survive due to the nature of wood as a material. Even the works of the masters of toy work of the XVIII century reached the present in very small quantities. In museums and collections are mainly presented the toys of the XIX century.

The simplest instances were knots of wood, only slightly retouched with a knife. In some regions, in the creation of toys was used fir cones, served by hands or feet for wooden figurines. Because the wooden toy is inextricably linked to the forest, the figures are mostly in the form of forest dwellers. Such as birds, animals or imaginary folklore characters, depicting lumberjacks or old women with brushwood on their backs. Known fact is that at the Paris Exposition of 1890, foreign audiences have enthusiastically received these toys.

The largest center of wooden toys has long been Sergiev Posad with adjacent villages. In the toys of Sergiev Posad dominated genre pictures, figurines of ladies and hussars.

Another center of toys, formed later, in the early 18th century, was a village Bogorodskaya. Bogorodskaya carving now occupies a significant place in the decorative arts. Craftsmen of Bogorodskaya created original and unique toys, passing from generation to generation the traditions of this art. Bogorodskaya toy "Kuznetsy" is very popular in many countries. Figures of man and bear alternately applied to the hammer striking the anvil with displacement strips in one and the other side. There are many variations of such toys.

Major center of production of wooden toys for children was Nizhny Novgorod province, in many of its parts toys were cut and painted. The main plot of Gorodets toy is a horse. Rocking horse, covered with typical Gorodets painting patterns: berries, rosebushes andleaves.

Bird of happiness is another popular Russian wooden toy. Bird was hung on the ceiling in the front corner of a village, where a table with benches is located. When boiling samovar was on the table, a carved bird, obeying the currents of hot air, slowly and solemnly revolved around an axis. Bird of happiness was hung in the house as a talisman, keeper of the hearth and well-being.

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. For a long time wooden toys were just a souvenir. In recent years, due to the increased attention to environmental products for kids, wooden toys are conquering again their former popularity. 

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