Traditional Pysanky


Traditional pysanky have been created in Ukraine for many centuries, since early pre-Christian times.  The designs and motifs have evolved over the ages, but, most likely, fairly slowly. Pysankarstvo, like many folk arts, is fairly conservative – little change in designs has been seen from when pysanky were first collected by ethnographers in the nineteenth century and those traditional patterns being produced today.  Because there was magic in the designs, and because pysanky were talismanic objects, there was little incentive to bring about any drastic change. 

Designs are both regional and local in nature.  Those which are most widespread are probably the oldest, while those that are more localized are probably more recent.  Some trends can be see for local variation. Pysanky from the Carpathian regions tend to be much more intricate and to have wild animal motifs, and to have lots of oranges and yellows.  Those from Podillya have stylized serpent/berehynia motifs and fewer colors, red, yellow and black usually sufficing. Lemko regions tend towards predominantly drop-pull patterns, while Volynian pysanky tend towards red and green.  Chernihiv and Sokal favor floral motifs, the former simple flowers, the latter complex vinok designs.  Waves are often seen in southern Ukraine, near the Black and Azov Seas.


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Please note that, while the designs may not be my originals, the photos and many of the eggs are my own work.  If you wish to download them to use them for your own purposes–as computer wallpaper, to copy the designs, just to enjoy–feel free to do so.  If you wish to republish them anywhere, please ask my permission and give me credit .  Thanks.