In this post we would like to make a quick introduction to some traditional Russian toys apart from the well-known matryoshka, which you might also purchase as a souvenir.
Dymkovo ceramic toys
These colourful ceramic toys are known since 15-16th century. Their production started in Dymkovo settlement of today's Kirov's region. The origin of the toy is associated with the Whistler spring holiday, to which the female population sculpted whistles made of clay in the form of horses, rams, goats, ducks and other animals. The toys were made out of red clay and painted in different bright colors. Later, despite the holiday lost its significance, the fishery was preserved and further developed.
Today, bright Dymkovo toys are the symbol of Kirov (Vyatka) region and of traditional Russian toy making overall.
These toys were traditionally produced in Filimonovo village of Tula region since at least 15th century, some artifacts are even older. The toys were made from local clay as part of family production: parents were producing dishes, kids and old people were making clay toys, mostly whistles of different shapes.
You can recognize these toys by distinctive striped ornament
Gorodets wooden toys
Gorodets is an old Russian town on Volga river in Nizhny Novgorod region. The place was not well suited for agriculture, rather its location need forests and on major river lead to development of trade and handicraft production, especially woodcarving. Mainly they produced various household utensils (Gorodets traditional spoons can be found everywhere) and furniture. But from the nineteenth century the artisans began to make toys. The rocking horse born in Gorodets is probably the most well known wooden toy in Russia, most of Russian people can recall playing it during their childhood.
Bogorodskoye moving wooden toys
The famous moving wooden toys originate from the village of Bogorodskoye in the Moscow region. The production of the first simple wooden toys started back in 17th century. Figures of animals and people were made out of soft wood (alder, linden, and aspen). But it was in the 19th century when the Bogorodskaya toy received a powerful development. At this time, toys of a fundamentally new type began to appear, which later became a kind of Bogorodskoye classic - the now famous bears with hammers that pound on the anvil with the movement of a plate. The other famous variety of the toy is the plate with moving figures of chicken pecking grain.