Toys, intended to be an entertainment, play a great role in the process of a child’s intellectual and physical development. They enhance cognitive behavior and stimulate creativity that is necessary in later life. Toys are an integral part of children’s life which also help them to explore relationships, practice skills and sometimes are used in interior decoration.
Unfortunately only few items of such a kind have been preserved through the centuries-old history of humanity, so far as children's belongings and toys are the first implements to become broken down and unusable very quickly. Therefore exhibits from the Moscow Kremlin funds are of great historical and cultural value.
In the Medieval ages assortment of clay toys was diverse and included figured items shaped as various animals as well as clay whistles. Clay whistle is one of the most popular Russian folk instruments, widely spread as a toy since ancient times. The form of whistles varies from stylized birds, horses, dogs etc. to more complicated designs of domestic utensils.
The section presents clay painted horses (pic.2, 3), ceramic whistle-bird (pic.1), clay whistle-pitcher (pic.1), ball-shaped rattle made of red clay (pic.2), usually produced in Russia in the XVth-XVIIIth centuries. All the items were found during archeological researches of the 1960s-1990s.
The display includes a picture of a partially gilded rattle (pic.4), executed by Nuremberg goldsmiths in the late XVIIth century probably as an ambassadorial gift. According to one version it could have belonged to the future Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov.
Toys were intended to introduce a child to a world around them, including social structure and standards. For example, girls usually played with dolls. Two dolls of the late XVIIIth-early XIXth century (pic.5) in Russian national clothes are the unique preserved pieces of plaything, which gained wide popularity in Old Rus. According to ancient prevalent belief dolls could possess an evil will and power able to make mischief. Therefore design of the dolls’ faces is not detailed. Having been made of fabric the dolls were completely harmless to baby's health.
The exposition includes also a wooden doll on a base (pic.6), dressed in a costume of the Order of St. Catherine.