«Українські Писанки»

“Ukrainian Pysanky”

 
 

In 1968, a small book was published in Kyiv, bearing the title «Українські Писанки» (“Ukrainian Pysanky”).  The book was neither broad in scope, nor did it introduce any groundbreaking discoveries.  But it was important, and it was groundbreaking, in that it was a book about pysanky, published in Ukraine, in Ukrainian. 

Pysanky had been banned in the Soviet Union, as the regime considered pysanky religious objects, and considered writing them a religious practice. Pysankarstvo carried on in isolated areas of Ukraine–Cherkasy oblast, and the mountainous areas of western Ukraine–but it had been eradicated pretty thoroughly from much of the rest of Soviet Ukraine.

This book brought attention back onto the pysanka, and dared to do it in the Ukrainian language and in the context of Ukrainian ethnic folk tradition.  Although the book’s run was fairly small, and most of those books were slated for export, Binyashevsky contributed in no small way to the current renaissance of the Ukrainian folk pysanka.

Binyashevsky’s small tome has long been out of print, and is difficult to find1.  Its contents have entered the public domain in Ukraine–his diagrams, and the individual illustrations of pysanky are seen everywhere, in publications of all sorts (books, pamphlets, news and magazine articles), and on the web.

I have scanned and uploaded most of the contents.  On the following pages you will find the cover, endpapers (with their photos of the pysanky described within), a summary of the contents (i.e. written text) and the plates. 

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  1. 1.When I was looking for a copy, the best I could find was a copy with torn/missing pages and an absent dust jacket on offer through eBay. That was several years ago.  A Google search today produces nothing.
    I managed to copy Vira Manko’s dog-eared and pencil-marked copy in when I was in Ukraine a few years ago (the book wasn’t even hers, but on loan from a friend), and later bought an extra copy from a Ukrainian-American pysankarka friend.





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