Mother with many children Dymkovo doll, 1960-70s, All-Russian Decorative Art Museum, Moscow
After dying the figures were baked over an open fire and after that place into solution of milk and crashed chalk to make even white ground for the paint. The paints were in six colours: blue, yellow, green, orange, crimson and black. Sometimes tints and mixtures of light blue, rose and brown were also included. Painting represented a geometric ornament of circles, checks, and dots of different colors and sizes.
Most of the figures of women, men, children and animals reflected village life. Massive, abstract, and somewhat grotesque forms of the toys were emphasized by ruffles, puffed collars, and other features. They were playthings first but later became amusing collectors' items and offered the possibility of some extra income for the peasants who made them.
In the late 19th century the handicraft fell into decline because the Dymkovo toys had been forced out of the market by the factory-made moulded plaster statuettes, which imitated porcelain articles. During the Soviet times, however, the Dymkovo handicraft was revived. At that time besides the usual motifs the toys began to depict fairy tales characters as well. Modern day Dymkovo toys conform to the traditional style yet each reflects the craftsman's individual manner.
Lovers, Filimonovo toy, 1980s, All-Russian Decorative Art Museum, Moscow
Less known but no less interesting are the Filimonovo toys. The toys derive its name from the village of its origin, Filimonovo, and are moulded by hand from the bluish-grey local clay that fires into a pure white ceramic.The style of the Filimonovo toys is entirely different. The figurines - women, horsemen, assorted animals such as bears, cattle, and roosters - are elongated and are painted with motifs of bright strips and spots, often in alternating green and red colours.
So, when you are in Russia and wondering what to buy as a souvenir, think about these colourful and pretty toys, they will not only decorate any room in your house but will bring a smile on your face every time you see them.