Masterpiece Monday: Hand-painted Easter Eggs of Europe

Ukrainian Easter Eggs

It is Spring and close to Easter, so this week’s masterpiece that I am highlighting is the hand-painted Easter egg tradition that comes from various Central/Eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic, Ukraine, and Poland.  I will show examples from only these three countries, but others also create these gorgeous eggs every year, as it is explained in this definition of the Ukrainian Easter egg, pysanka.

Here is the definition of Pysanka from the Wikipedia site.

“A pysanka (Ukrainian: писанка, plural: pysanky) is a Ukrainian Easter egg, decorated using a wax-resist (batik) method. The word comes from the verb pysaty, “to write”, as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax. The word pysanka refers specifically to an egg decorated with traditional Ukrainian folk designs, and is not a generic term for any egg decorated using wax resist.

Many other eastern European ethnic groups, decorate eggs using wax resist for Easter. These include the Belarusians (пісанка, pisanka), Bulgarians (писано яйце, pisano yaytse),Croats (pisanica), Hungarians (hímestojás), Czechs (kraslice), Lithuanians (margutis), Poles (pisanka), Romanians (ouă vopsite, incondeiate or impistrite), Serbs (pisanica), Slovaks(kraslica), Slovenes (pisanica, pirhi or remenke) and Sorbs (jejka pisać).”

I just LOVE how pysanka means “to write,” because every time I see these eggs I always think up of stories that go along with them.  Some look very regal, others very folky.  Colors range from sky blue, grassy green, to tulip yellow and pink highlighted by a black background, to orange and brown tones.  Some have geometric designs, others have flowers and wiggles.  They are all unique and so very, very different.  Every one of them MUST have a story. 🙂

Czech women dressed in folk costume decorating Easter eggs

 

 

Czech Easter Eggs

In Czech culture, the egg is called kraslice.  This excerpt explains Czech Easter egg lore, and it comes from My Czech Republic blog.

“The hand-painted or otherwise decorated egg (kraslice) is the most recognizable symbol of Czech Easter. Girls decorate Easter eggs to give them to boys on Easter Monday. There are many Easter egg decorating techniques and the more elaborate ones require a certain level of skill. Different materials can be used, such as bee’s wax, straw, watercolors, onion peels, picture stickers. There are no limitations to creating pretty, colorful eggs. A nationwide Easter egg contest is held in Prague and other Czech cities around Easter time.”

 

And here are examples of Polish Easter Eggs, called pisanki.

 

Polish Easter Eggs Desktop Wallpaper

Polish Easter Eggs

 

I find these eggs to be so beautiful.  We are lucky to have one that we bought from, of all places, The Oregon Zoo!  Every year they have an annual Easter egg hunt, and sometimes they have a set up where you can learn how to make Ukrainian Easter eggs yourself.  You can buy all of the tools and everything.  We tried it, and it was hard!  So we ended up buying a Czech egg from a vendor selling Czech folk crafts there.

If you are interested in learning more on how to make eggs like these, here is a youtube video that I found.  Enjoy!

 

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