29 Picture-Perfect Russian Nesting Doll Tattoos

Thanks Russia!

Russian nesting dolls, also known as matryoshka dolls, nesting dolls, babushka dolls, or just Russian dolls, are probably the coolest wooden toys to have ever left the workshop.

If you’re a kid that’s ever messed around with a set of nesting dolls, then you know we speak the truth. Ever since Vasily Zvyozdochkin carved the first pair of rounded figures way back in 1890, the toy industry has never been quite the same. But much to the disappointment of many children, these “toys” are usually displayed on a look, but do not touch basis. Many sets of Russian nesting dolls are hand crafted, expertly painted, and relatively fragile. In fact, quality sets usually go for thousands of dollars. Collectible sets can cost even more.

Aside from their fascinating stackable nature, Russian nesting dolls are admired for their colorful artwork and mysterious nature. Opening each doll is like a mini Christmas, you never know what surprises lay inside. Whether you’re male or female, young or old, this list is the ultimate guide to Russian nesting doll tattoos. Enjoy!

This dotwork design.

Dotwork nesting doll tattoo by Safe House

(Photo: Safe House)

This dangling design.

Dangling Russian nesting doll design by Ana Abrahao

(Ana Abrahao)

This wrist tat.

Russian nesting doll tattoo on wrist by Joice Wang

(Photo: Joice Wang)

These mother and daughter Russian nesting doll tattoo.

Mother and daughter dolls by Jemka


The history of Russian nesting dolls.

Many scholars argue that the Russian nesting doll was in fact originally created by the Japanese. However, these claims have been widely debunked by people that claim the nesting doll was inspired from hollow wooden eggs that Russian woodcarvers would assemble long before the first Japanese dolls materialized.

The first Matryoshka dolls found a somewhat unexpected audience. Although the dolls were originally created with children in mind, their expensive production costs soon put them out of reach for all but the wealthy. So instead, adults started to collect them which is probably why so many sets survived to this day.

Matryoshka dolls owe their global popularity to the Paris World Exhibition in 1900 where the dolls scored a bronze medal. Soon after the exhibition, large orders flooded in from all over the world, forever cementing the nesting doll’s place in history.

This black and grey ink doll.

Black and grey ink doll by Joice Wang

(Photo: Joice Wang)

These matching Russian nesting doll tattoos.

Matching Russian nesting doll tattoos via Deanna Taylor

(Photo: Deanna Taylor)

Fun facts about Russian nesting dolls.

  1. Because of their time consuming production methods, authentic Russian nesting dolls are not mass produced anywhere in the world.
  2. Matryoshka means “little mother,” and the dolls inside represent her children.
  3. The Chinese city of Manzhouli is home to the largest (height wise) matryoshka dolls. In the towns square there are over 200 of the dolls, some reaching heights of over 100ft.
  4. The largest set of matryoshka dolls is 27.5 inches tall and boasts a whopping 70 inner dolls.
  5. Matryoshka dolls are one of Russians most popular tourist purchases representing the country.

This matryoshka doll tattoo.

Matryoshka doll tattoo by ISA art

(Photo: ISA Art)

This mandala inspired doll.

Mandala matryoshka doll by Ben Doukakis

(Photo: Ben Doukakis)

This psychedelic design.

Psychedelic nesting doll tat by David Cote

(Photo: David Cote)

This tricep tat.

Russian nesting doll tattoo via Rebecca Sophia

(Photo: Rebecca Sophia)

This gradient color.

Gradient nesting doll tattoo by Lauren Winzer

(Photo: Lauren Winzer)

Another dotwork doll.

Dotwork nesting doll by Ben Doukakis

(Photo: Ben Doukakis)

This gorgeous floral design.

Blackwork nesting doll tattoo by 82 Grad

(Photo: 82 Grad)

These rosy cheeks.

Rosy cheeked nesting doll tattoo by Sarah Whitehouse

(Photo: Sarah Whitehouse)

These three sisters.

Russian nesting doll sister tattoo by Maksim Lopez

(Photo: Maksim Lopez)

This colorful creation.

Colorful nesting doll tattoo by Karl Marks

(Photo: Karl Marks)

This heavy blackwork design.

Blackwork nesting doll tattoo by Madison McLain

(Photo: Madison McLain)

This tropical matryoshka doll.

Tropical matryoshka doll tattoo by Suflanda

(Photo: Suflanda)

This elegant floral design.

Floral nesting doll tattoo by Ash Timlin

(Photo: Ash Timlin)

These pastel colors.

Russian nesting doll tattoo by Jordan Ashley

(Photo: Jordan Ashley)

This black and grey ink dotwork design.

Black and grey ink dotwork nesting doll by Sarah Herzdame

(Photo: Sarah Herzdame)

This cute couple.

Russian nesting doll tattoos by Carly Baggins

(Photo: Carly Baggins)

This simple design.

Russian nesting doll tattoo by Noam Yona

(Photo: Noam Yona)

This Day of the Dead doll.

Day of the Dead nesting doll tattoo by Graceland

(Photo: Graceland)

This winker.

Russian nesting doll tattoo by Sean Younker

(Photo: Sean Younker)

This hidden skull.

Nesting doll hidden skull tattoo by Jordan Baker

(Photo: Jordan Baker)

This abstract heart design.

Russian nesting doll tattoo by Sarah Herzdame

(Photo: Sarah Herzdame)

This dotwork doll.

Dotwork russian nesting doll tattoo by Sarah Herzdame

(Photo: Sarah Herzdame)

This minimalistic design.

Minimalistic Russian nesting doll tattoo by Tommy Rattle

(Photo: Tommy Rattle)


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