Matryoshka - Russian Dolls
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Watch these contestants of 'Masquerade,' one of Japan's most popular TV shows, as they present their unique performance.

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These amazing illusions are created by actors and stagehands dressed in black for the popular Japanese television show 'Masquerade.'  People from all walks of life participate in the contest to present their unique performances.  In addition to preparing their own costumes and props, contestants exert themselves physically and creatively to bring forth their best.    Matryoshka, also known as Russian nesting dolls, is a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other.  The dolls are typically painted to resemble a traditional Russian woman, with a scarf or head covering and a colorful dress.  The largest doll in the set is called the "mother" doll, and the smaller dolls inside are her daughters.  The tradition of making and playing with matryoshka dolls originated in Russia in the late 19th century.  The first matryoshka dolls were made by a craftsman named Sergei Malyutin and a painter named Vasiliy Zvyozdochkin in 1890.  The idea of creating a detachable wooden doll was suggested to him by a Japanese toy brought by the wife of the philanthropist Savva Mamontov - these were dolls nested one into another, depicting the Seven Gods of Happiness.
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