What is motanka?

Tradition of motanka doll goes in deep past. Some researchers believe that this tradition was even in Trypillya culture, existed in Ukraine in V-IV century BC because people grew flax and produced linen in those times.

In former times, the Ukrainian doll-motanka was not just a toy, but also a talisman and home amulet, symbolizing the continuous connection between the generations.

Centuries ago, people made such dolls with different meanings. They believed that such handmade dolls, made in house, had different power, depending on what thoughts you have, while making it.

Motanka doll is made by winding threads and linen. And sometimes people were also weaving in them dry grass, flowers, grains for better future harvest.

They believed that the doll-motanka should be faceless and the one that serves as a guardian-talisman could be with a cross instead of a face. So we can as sume that the doll-motanka has no eyes, because, according to an ancient archaic tradition, the spirit of a living being can fly into them.

The young woman received the motanka for the wedding and kept the doll until the birth of her first child. Such a doll was placed into the cradle before putting the baby there. Also, the mythical doll-motanka was considered the embodiment of the soul of ancestors, a protector against evil spells.

Four main meanings of motanka-dolls in archaic historical tradition:

  • productive – when woman makes motanka with believe that the doll will be talisman, helping in health, work, good future harvest etc
  • protective – when woman makes motanka with believe that the doll will be home amulet, guardian, protecting home and people
  • cleaning – when woman makes motanka with believe that it will be drive away any evil spirits
  • just a toy for girls

Nowadays motanka is traditional Ukrainian souvenir.

And now you can make such a souvenir by yourself with our new video-master-class http://ukrainian-art-experience.com/motanka-traditional-doll/