The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
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The Tolstoy House Was Decorated for the Holidays


This week, the Tolstoy House was decorated for New Year’s and Christmas. As in Tolstoy‘s time, there is a Christmas tree in the dining room. Our employees and visitors can enjoy it until the end of Christmastide. In addition, a Christmas collection of dolls created by our craftsmen and an exhibition of skeleton-dolls in national costumes of peoples of Russia can be seen in various rooms of the house in the showcases.

Photos can be seen HERE >>>

Background information:


Skeleton dolls are a Yasnaya Polyana tradition invented by Sophia Tolstaya. They are wooden dolls with thin hands and legs, dressed in colorful costumes. At Christmas, Sophia and the Tolstoy children gave these dolls to the village children.

“At first, we are standing in awe in front of a huge Christmas tree. It almost reaches the ceiling, and it is bathed in the light of the numerous wax candles all over, and is sparkling with the endless number of various bright trinkets hanging on it. <…>

When everybody has seen enough of the tree and their presents, mama, with the assistance of Hannah and her guests, gives all the children “skeletons”, gingerbreads, Crimean apples, gilded nuts and candy, and everbody goes home, laden with their presents and sweet treats.” (From the memoirs of Tatiana Sukhotina-Tolstaya, the writer’s eldest daughter). 

In 2015, our museum held a competition, Skeleton Dolls in National Costumes, for the best clothing made for a wooden doll. Eighty children aged 7 to 18 took part in the competition. In keeping with the creative traditions of the Tolstoy family, contestants sewed Russian, Tatar, Ukrainian, Belorussian, Serbian, German, French, and Swedish costumes, dresses of peoples from Asian and Arab countries, and outfits of peoples of Russia. The creators of the most striking and original costumes were named the winners. It is their works and other equally unique costumes of other contestants that make up the exhibition. Each costume is accompanied by a short explanation written by the costume’s maker.

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