Made in the late 19th century, the dolls on display accurately depict traditional ethnic dress as worn by Russian peasants. Produced during a time of revived interest in Russian folk arts, the traditional costumes displayed on these dolls, and worn by the masses, would soon be replaced by factory-produced fabrics and clothing. These costumes represent basic elements of Russian peasant dress: a long homespun linen coat and a shirt worn over linen pants for men, and a sarafan and shirt for women.
Traditional footwear, known as lapti, was made from the woven bast fiber of the linden tree, or from strips of birch bark. These materials were light, inexpensive and abundant in the densely forested regions of northern and central Russia. The birch tree was commonly glorified in song and verse both by folk singers and Russian literary notables. Lapti were worn over long narrow strips of cloth, up to six feet long, wrapped around the lower leg and held in place by straps.