Pysanky. You're welcome.
April 17, 2003 7:47 PM   Subscribe

Not your father's Easter eggs, um, unless your family's Ukrainian, of course. Pysanky (mentioned in passing here) is a folk art with a rich symbology behind it. Whatever the meaning, though, these eggs are simply amazing to look at in person, and hopefully at least some of that comes across in 72dpi web photos. [more inside]
posted by soyjoy (15 comments total)
Ha - made you look! No, I just wanted to fully disclose that I errantly posted most of this as a comment on madamjujujive's excellent S&M Easter thread, where it didn't belong. The Inquirer story just came out today, though, and has some good photos, and I thought some other people might enjoy seeing this stuff if they haven't already.
posted by soyjoy at 7:49 PM on April 17, 2003

Fascinating, soyjoy! Thanks. We have a lot of Ukrainian immigrants here and it's wonderful how, in only a few years' time, some of their customs have filtered through to the Portuguese mainstream tradition.

Mad props for referencing your own previous comment and madamjuju's post. I wish more users would ground their posts in the same, meticulous way - and, for readers, highly useful for further reading purposes.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:07 PM on April 17, 2003

Great to see the Philly article calls the country "Ukraine", not "the Ukraine", hardly anyone gets that right.
posted by bobo123 at 10:34 PM on April 17, 2003

Great post soyjoy, I am glad you made a separate thread. I really liked the links about learning the art, and the page explaining the symbolism.

OK, hope I am not taking this far afield if I post a few interesting egg art sites although they are not pysanky. Eggcentrics is one of my favorites - fun stuff! Also artist Susan Tibbon has some beautiful painted eggs - I wish she had a bigger gallery online.

By the way, I agree with Miguel's comments about linking to other MeFi threads and not just because one that you link to is mine ;-) - mediareports's link that you posted is actually more germane. MeFi has so many links posted, no one can possibly keep up, and things whiz by. It adds dimension to a topic to post additional resources, and it's very thoughtful to other posters to acknowledge past efforts
posted by madamjujujive at 10:37 PM on April 17, 2003

This is great. Thanks, soyjoy.
posted by plep at 11:12 PM on April 17, 2003

This ain't your daddy's Paas!
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:19 PM on April 17, 2003

Woo! Vegreville rocks!
posted by damclean2 at 11:50 PM on April 17, 2003

My roomate used to make these in college, and boy, it takes an incredible amount of time to do! Just think of all the planning that one separate layer of color after another entails. The "reveal" at the end, where all the layers of wax were melted off over a flame and you finally got to see what the layers of color looked like together, was always the best part. I tried making these once or twice and produced something that looked like a 5 year old playing tic tac toe on an egg. Mad props to the psanky makers and posters!

(Note the google ads for ostrich and Faberge eggs for sale -- cool -- but what's up with the ad for colored contacts?!)
posted by onlyconnect at 12:34 AM on April 18, 2003

If only I could get Crayola and Paas to make the same effect...

If nothing else, it's inspiration for the egg dyeing I'll be doing with my mother tonight. Thanks!
posted by MsVader at 6:56 AM on April 18, 2003

Great to see the Philly article calls the country "Ukraine", not "the Ukraine", hardly anyone gets that right.

Heh. A behind-the-scenes view of my first sentence would have revealed ", unless your family's from the Ukraine from Ukraine from the of the Ukrainian, of course."

My lovely and talented wife got into making these last year and has become pretty adept at it, and not to repeat myself but these little orbs are really amazing to look at up close. When I first saw one it was about ten years ago at her grandmother's, and I thought it had to be a one-in-a-million artistic achivement. I was blown away when her grandmother explained that no, regular people did these, often in quantity right before Easter. I don't subscribe to all the beliefs that underlie the practice, of course, I'm just glad that enough people do that it motivates them to sit patiently and create such dazzling gems.
posted by soyjoy at 7:07 AM on April 18, 2003

A post about pysanky just wouldn't be complete without a link to the Vegreville Easter Egg.

Making a pysanka is a fascinating process. I'm not Ukranian but I took a couple of lessons from someone else's grandmother when I was a child. I never produced anything to marvel at, but it was a really fascinating experience. There's something really powerful about the process of building up the layers of wax and colour, and then only at the end of it all revealing what you've created.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:53 AM on April 18, 2003

Great link! I have had the joy of making these before, and it's a lot of work but so cool when you are done.

I find it interesting, however, how different the meaning of the "symbols" is portrayed. Back when I was studying Russian History and we made the eggs we were given the traditional pre-Christian Ukrainian meanings of many of the symbols.

Still, a really cool link! Maybe I will make some this year too!!!
posted by evilcupcakes at 9:07 AM on April 18, 2003

LOL, I probably should have specified that I was referring to the pre-Christian meanings of the symbols in folk art- not the pre-christian meanings of the eggs. I mean, they are EASTER eggs after all.... LOL
posted by evilcupcakes at 9:10 AM on April 18, 2003

Thanks for this post, soyjoy. I'm first generation Uke on my dad's side, round Easter time these eggs were all around my grandparents' place in Brooklyn. Though I don't practice religion anymore, seeing the eggs brings this to mind:

Xpuctoc Vockpec! (Christ is risen)
posted by Ty Webb at 9:10 AM on April 18, 2003

evilcupcakes, that's an interesting point about the symbols and their pre-Christian meanings. Googling took me to this:

There is a whole host of pagan symbols, which were adapted in accordance with the new Christian faith. Dots, which once represented stars or cuckoo birds eggs (a symbol of spring) became symbols of the tears of the blessed Virgin. The fish, originally a symbol of health, came to symbolize Jesus Christ, the fisherman, the cross which in pagan times represented the four sides of the earth, now took on the triad of earth, wind and fire now depicted the Holy Trinity.

...which also has some links at the bottom, including more pysanky photos for those who can't get enough.
posted by soyjoy at 11:02 AM on April 18, 2003

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