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Home Easter Traditions Pysanky Eggs

Pysanky Eggs

pysanky

Ukrainian Painted Eggs Come in Intricate, Colorful Styles

Pysanky Eggs are now known world wide for their beauty and detail. Part of Ukrainian Pysanky Egg decorating is the art of using wax to write. It's not surprising that the name 'Pysanky' actually comes from the Ukrainian verb that means 'to write'. Ukrainian symbolic egg art is based, in large measure, on early eggs from other Eastern European cultures, and Serbian, Czechoslovakian, Polish and Romanian artists also use similar methods to design their Pysanky egg art.

Pysanky Eggs for Beautiful Easter Art

The designs and symbols of Ukrainian Pysanky egg decorating are impressive and a fine representation of Ukrainian art in general. One trait of this art style is the unending line, which displays the cyclical nature of life. People in the Ukraine in ancient times believed the Pysanky egg to be a talisman of sorts, and these Ukraine decorated eggs were presented to people at different stages of their life for different reasons. Pysanky gifts were believed to ward off evil spirits and protect against attack, natural disasters an fire. Also, these pysanky gifts were given to people at very important times in their lives. Young adults were given Pysanky egg gifts that were predominantly white, as to signify their live as a blank slate, ready to begin. Married couples were given eggs with intricate patterns, as to display their tasks in life. Older people were often given Pyansky decorated eggs with ladders on them, to symbolize their bridge to heaven. Other examples of the symbolism include circles, a cross, stars, spots, wheat, fir tree, horse, deer, horns and bear's paws. The tradition has been passed on in the Ukraine for thousands of years, though good examples of this work are hard to find, as eggshells are fragile. There is one specialty tool used called a kistka, or a stylus, in order to draw the designs in wax.

The basic idea is as follows, you take a white egg and everything you wish to remain white, you cover with wax. These eggs can be raw eggs, hollow, or hard boiled. Great care is taken when you handle them. The next step is you gradually use darker and darker dyes, each time using wax to cover the areas you want to remain that color. In the end, you end up with an egg with a variety of colors, almost black, very dark due to all the colors and layers of wax. When done, you gently melt away the wax using a flame, and what you end up with is a beautiful, intricately designed egg! Don't forget to cover the area you are working in with a bunch of newspaper, as dye and wax can be a bit messy!

It might be advisable to watch a person, particularly an eastern European practice the art of Pysanky design. To see someone craft the egg in the original traditional fashion is best. If you can't find any classes in your area, say at a springtime craft show or at a community center, the 2nd best thing to do is to watch a Pysanky video. To see the craftsmanship and artistic design that goes into each and every egg is awesome. It is also is a wonderful and interesting way to learn more about Eastern European culture.