The Unicode Consortium has approved the matryoshka as a new emoji symbol, which been assigned the code position U+1FA86 of the Unicode 13.0 standard. In the updated set of operating systems iOS, iPadOS and macOS Russian dolls will appear not earlier than 2021.
The idea to include the ancient Russian painted doll in the emoji set belongs to Aurous Publishing CEO Jeff Gray.
The original Russian dolls from the iPhone manufacturer are half open, and the painted dress of the dolls is adorned with flowers from already existing emoticons. Emoji is an integral part of the Unicode text encoding standard, and an appropriate non-profit consortium is responsible for adding new symbols.
Emoji matryoshka dolls are presented as a non-religious and non-politicized symbol of Eastern European culture. The meaning of the emoticon refers to the toy itself, which contains several decreasing in size copies. A multi-layered beautiful doll in the context of emoji hints at the diversity of a person. For users who are used to hiding several faces behind one single one, the new emoticon is a real treasure.
This year marks the matryoshka doll’s 130th anniversary. Painter Sergei Malyutin, in the 1890s, inspired by the example of an ancient Japanese toy, consisting of seven gods of happiness, decided to create his own version of the doll that would correspond to the traditions of Russian culture. The first matryoshka consisted of eight dolls and represented a peasant family – a mother and 7 daughters.
It is noteworthy that the name Matryona, popular in pre-revolutionary Russia, is of Latin origin. In ancient Rome, the word matrona personified a married woman who belonged to the upper class. Soon a similar term appeared in the Russian language. “Matrona” is a respected woman and mother of the family, from which the Christian name Matryona came. This image was associated with the mother of a large family, a “curvaceous” woman. The rounded shape of the matryoshka symbolizes fertility and motherhood.
Matryoshka has long become international. Artists from different countries paint a multi-layered doll in the manner of the nationality to which they belong. Elegant matryoshka dolls in traditional national dresses can be found throughout the world.
There are original nesting dolls in Turkmenistan. Craftsmen make dolls not only in the classic version, but also from dried pumpkin. And the artists do not lack imagination for painting. Craftswoman Elena from Ashgabat tenderly calls the Turkmen nesting dolls “badjishechki”. The word “badji” in the Turkmen language is addressed to a respected woman or sister.
The number of nesting dolls varies. The most famous 50-layered nesting doll, to make which a whole factory worked, was presented at an exhibition in Montreal in 1967. A 72-layered Russian beauty was registered in the Guinness Book of Records in the 1970s. But the world record in matryoshka making was broken by the 75-layered doll.