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Delightful Dymkovo Toys

Dymkovo Toys are amongst the traditional crafts of Russia that have survived for centuries, and the toys remain one of the most celebrated crafts in the country. Even though documents recording this colorful art form date back to 1811, historians believe that it has been a part of Russian history for more than four hundred years, and derives from whistle making, which is yet another ancient craft in this diverse heritage. Women were originally the artisans of this craft, but in later years the technique and ideas began to develop and grow as a craft all could participate in.

Generally the making of toys was only done for festivals, so as to promote them as well as bringing color and excitement to the event. The best known event of the time was the whistling celebration and hundreds of craftsmen were sourced locally to produce a diverse range of whistles for the festival. Of course, their magnificent talents allowed them to create whistles in different forms, with figurines of horses, lambs and even birds being made available. Other major events, such as snowman making competitions, increased the demand for these figurines, leading to the development of Dymkovo Toys. During these years, a mixture of river sand and red clay was used to sculpt the figurines, after which much more detail was added, such as hair plaits and dresses, and then they were later painted to create the complete Dymkovo Toy.

Today the process is more refined, with tempered furnaces being used, as well as a more modern whitewashing process and tempera paint being used to add the detail and color. Four or more colors, as well as gold leaf in some instances, are used to decorate the toys, and ancient motifs are added to some. Dymkovo Toys can also depict certain lifestyles and fairytales, a feature that was added in the 1930s. As the years passed, the toys also took on more elaborate forms, with puffed collars and sometimes abstract creations being produced. Visitors to Russia often buy Dymkovo Toys as gifts to take home or as souvenirs, as they are colorful and fun reminders of a fascinating journey through the history of Russia.


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