From the 16th century onwards the town of Sergiyev Posad, unofficially nicknamed the Toy Capital of Russia, was boosted by the toy making and trading tradition. That was largely due to the existence of the local toy-making crafts and industries scattered around the town and the additional sales opportunities provided by the large and steady numbers of pilgrims to the Trinity-Sergius monastery. Out of a sudden, the DIY toy making was revived in the 1990s when making and selling matryoshkas (collapsible Russian dolls) helped many families to survive the rough times.

The making of a toy requires a good chunk of linden tree, a sharp knife and some skills passed from generation to generation. Now, the toy-making is taught in two colleges in Abramtsevo and Bogorodskoye and everyone is invited to join in.

The first sound recording was made in Bogorodskoye – once a small village that grew into a large hydro-power plant site, and a home to the toy handicraft of the same name. This is Ilya Polsky, the local carver making first cuts into the linden chunk long before the initial outlines begin to appear.

Next is the sound that comes from a finished item. Sergiyev Posad Toy Museum director Alexander Grekov explains the way the wooden toy-hens and toy-smiths work.

Recorded August 8th/July 7th, 2010 (CA-14 omni/SP-TFB-2)
Published December 20th, 2010.
Photo by _SD_.

/ 20.12.2010

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