Tiraspol Matryoshka Doll from Moldova (Moldavia). A unique and scarce set of 5 dolls, which are decorated in the traditional Moldavian colors of orange, yellow, green, red and jet black. All the faces are exquisite and expressive indicating care taken to paint them. Strawberry decoration on the aprons is also very unusual. The fingerprint "swirls" are green and red on a yellow background. A difficult set to date as they could be pre-WWI or just after WWII (1930's to 1950's). Definitely not later and earlier here could apply as Tiraspol became part of Soviet Russia in 1924. The wood on the bottom of the first doll has a nice age-related patina. A label on the first doll has worn off long ago. 5 nest, 4¾" down to 1¼". 1 only, as shown.
Tiraspol is a large city in Moldova located on the eastern bank of the Dniester River. The modern city of Tiraspol was founded by the Russian general Alexander Suvorov in 1792, uniting various ethnic groups. After the Russian Revolution, the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was created in 1924 with Romanian, Ukrainian and Russian as the official languages. Its capital was Tiraspol, which remained the capital of the Moldavian ASSR until 1940. Then part of the Ukrainian SSR, it became part of the newly-formed Moldavian SSR. In 1941, following the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, the city was occupied by Romanian troops. In 1944, the city was retaken by the Red Army and became again part of Moldavian SSR.