The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
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“Skeleton Dolls in National Costumes” Exhibition

rusDecember 24, 2015 - January 20, 2016
Leo Tolstoy Central City Library  
(Tula, Boldina St., 149/10)

December 24 at 16:00, the Skeleton Dolls in National Costumes  exhibition will open at the Leo Tolstoy Central City Library as part of the meeting of the Yasnaya Polyana Thursdays Club. Visitors will see wooden dolls in male and female in national costumes of various countries and time periods.

Admission is Free.


Did you ever see a Tyrolean man’s costume? Or the bright, many-layered dress of a Serbian woman? The clothing of a Turkish pasha or that of Aleuts?  If not, then the Yasnaya Polyana museum will be glad to acquaint you at its new exhibition with the variety of clothes worn by the world’s peoples.

In the fall of this year we 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.

Background information:

The Skeleton Dolls in National Costume competition was held at Yasnaya Polyana from August 1 through November 15, 2015. Contestants were asked to make a national costume for a wooden doll.  A particular costume was assigned to each contestant through a drawing of lots.  The jury selected the best and most detailed costumes. Prizes were awarded in several categories: First Prize, the prize of the museum’s Chief Designer; the Museum Director’s prize; and the public’s favorite. 


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.

The Yasnaya Polyana Thursdays Club was founded at the reading room of the Leo Tolstoy Central City Library 37 years ago.  Researchers and admirers of Leo Tolstoy’s works meet each month at the library in order to discuss the results of scholarly research and to talk about Tolstoy’s heritage.

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