Friday, October 2, 2009
Pysanky are Ukrainian-stylized eggs. A wax resist method or batik is used to decorate the eggs and a special instrument called the kistka etches the design.
They are usually made for Easter, but folk artists make them all year round. Some have extremely intricate patterns. Most have designs of animals, wheat crops, flowers, trees.
Their origin comes from a myth in which the egg is symbolized as the source of life. Though Christian Ukrainians adopted it by 988 AD (with the rise of Christianity) the pysanky had a long illustrious pagan tradition.
Iryna Bilianska from the Sokol region of Western Ukraine used an embroiery pattern on her pysanky. Hers are more floral-designed than my mom's. My mom made many with deer patterns, trees, and interwoven geometrical shapes. We had a china bowl full of eggs many years ago, but our cat tested her soccer skills with virtually all of the ornaments in that bowl including a few treasures my grandmother had made.