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Stefan's Florilegium

pysanky-eggs-msg



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pysanky-eggs-msg - 9/13/00

Painted and dyed eggs of eastern Europe.

NOTE: See also the files: eggs-msg, Russia-msg, Bynzantine-msg, enameling-msg,
dyeing-msg, inks-msg, plaster-msg, painting-msg.

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NOTICE -

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that
I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some
messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with
seperate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes
extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were
removed to save space and remove clutter.

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I
make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the
individual authors.

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these
messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this
time. If information is published from these messages, please give
credit to the orignator(s).

Thank you,
Mark S. Harris AKA: Lord Stefan li Rous
mark.s.harris@motorola.com stefan@florilegium.org
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Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 09:19:57 -0500 (EST)
From: Jenne Heise <jenne@tulgey.browser.net>
To: sca-arts@raven.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Pisanki, was Re: Easter Eggs

On Mon, 10 Nov 1997, Danel Fisher wrote:
> I was wondering if anyone could help me in tracing down information
> about Easter Eggs. They were created by hand by a gentleman that either
> gave or sold them to the aristocrates of Europe and Russian. I know this
> sounds a little vague. They are intricately designed and are covered with
> gems and have intricate mechanical movement. Any help would be appreciated.

Well, as everyone has said, these are Faberge' eggs.

However, I am wondering about the prevalence of pisanki (pysanky) in
Northern Europe. (These are the elaborately decorated eggs created by
doing your design in reverse in wax, dyeing the egg, removing the wax, and
doing it again.)

I know they seem to have originated in the Ukraine. Sophie Knab says that
decorated eggs in Poland can be dated to the 1300s, as they appear in the
story of a miracle occurring at St. Hedwig's tomb in that time. I want
more documentation. Were they used in other Slavic countries? Also, Knab
describes some flirting games associated with pisanki, and I'm interested
in whether these are period. I'm also interested in the symbolism of the
pysanky designs.

Of course, if you made it to one of the pysanky classes at Pennsic, maybe
it was covered there... I missed them. :(

Can anyone suggest some resources?

Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, aka Aunt Bunny, mka Jennifer Heise
jenne@tulgey.browser.net


Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 11:49:11 -0700
From: Janine Goldman-Pach <jgoldpac@U.Arizona.EDU>
To: "'sca-arts@raven.cc.ukans.edu'" <sca-arts@raven.cc.ukans.edu>
Subject: RE: Pisanki, was Re: Easter Eggs

There is a pysanky section in the SCA-ARTS Listserv Citation Index:

http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Studios/5160/pysanky.html

Inui


Date: Sat, 15 Nov 1997 00:11:26 -0500 (EST)
From: <Thistlekp@aol.com>
To: sca-arts@raven.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Pisanki, was Re: Easter Eggs

to answer your first question Pisanki are very period, there is documention
dating back to 500 years before Christ. Although I haven't had much luck with
finding tracible documentation. In the information I have it is said that
these eggs were used for ensuring a good harvest. They would be buried when
the fields were plowed, or hung from fruit trees. As to symbolism I have
lists of symbolic meanings from post, and pre christianity. If you have
questions about specific symbols E-mail me at Thistlekp@aol.com


Date: Thu, 27 Nov 1997 22:13:45 -0500 (EST)
From: <Thistlekp@aol.com>
To: sca-arts@raven.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Pisanki, was Re: Easter Eggs

Hello Roz,

sorry it took so long, school keeps me very busy.I think it's great
that you do Pysanky, where do you live what group. As to documentation I am
currently hunting down a book that may have B.C. documentation of this style.
This book is called Eggs Beautiful, how to make Ukrainian easter eggs. This
book is published by a supply store called the Ukrainian Gift Shop. I am
trying to locate a copy of it so I don't have to buy the book until I know if
it has the info I need. If you find any information see if you can find
documentation of the use of duck eggs. This is the type of egg that I use as I
have two ducks that won't quit laying eggs.

Lord Bryan Morrison.


Date: Sat, 29 Nov 1997 18:19:46 GMT
From: ldyros@beaches.net (C S Walsh)
To: sca-arts@raven.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Pisanki, was Re: Easter Eggs

On Thu, 27 Nov 1997 22:13:45 -0500 (EST), Lord Bryan wrote:
>Hello Roz,
>
>I think it's great that you do Pysanky, where do you live what group.

Shire of Salt Keep, Meridies (Panama City, Florida)

> As to documentation I am currently hunting down a book that may have B.C.
documentation of this style.
>This book is called Eggs Beautiful, how to make Ukrainian easter eggs.

I have this book. It doesn't have any good documentation, just some passages
about family traditions, and the like. It is a good instruction book, though.
Have you tried Light and Life? They do just about everything Orthodox-- that's
where I got mine.

> If you find any information see if you can find
>documentation of the use of duck eggs. This is the type of egg that Iuse as I
>have two ducks that wont quit laying eggs.

My information says that any eggs were used. I have used goose and ostrich, in
addition to chicken.

Roz


Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 21:20:33 EST
From: <Bjmikita@aol.com>
To: sca-arts@raven.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Pysanky/Pisanki/Ukrainian Easter Eggs

Check out www.iarelative.com/slovakia.htm
As you start digging through all the sites that come up you'll find articles
on Christmas traditions, how to make Pysanky eggs as well as the history .


Date: Sat, 23 Jan 1999 04:18:51 -0600
From: Carol S Somers <elianemn@juno.com>
Subject: Re: ANST - Pysanki eggs correction

On Thu, 21 Jan 1999 21:00:43 -0600 Stefan li Rous <stefan@texas.net>
writes:
>Amra explained Pysanki eggs:
>
>another layer of wax, where you don't want the next dye etc.
>Because you are dyeing areas over other dyed areas, some care
>must be taken in which colors and areas are dyed first. The
>latter is part of what I don't remember all the details on.

Having done this for 15 years now,I think I might offer some advice
here........You start with the lightest color wanted <usually those areas
you would like to stay white> Then continually go darker from there. My
usual progression <although I don't always use all the following colors>
is resist the white, yellow, oranges, blues, reds, purples, and then the
black

>
>> One critical step in the process is selection of eggs
>> with NO blemishes or cracks --<snip>>This may be true, but I don't
remember our teacher at TFYC
>mentioning this or being this picky. So perhaps it only affects
>the final beauty and not the functionality of the object.
>--

Cracks ARE important from the functional standpoint. Picture building a
wall to keep out a 'flood of color' and then finding out there is a ditch
under that wall. Cracks allow the dyes to bleed into other areas, and
they also dye more darkly because you have more surface space in that
area to absorb the color. The only time I will use eggs with cracks is
for practicing or trying out a new pattern idea for the first time.
Besides, they DO have a tendency to mess with the structural integrity of
the egg, and I don't want to have to redo hours of work because it breaks
when I am trying to remove the wax.

Certain types of blemishes need to be handled the same way as
cracks...Mostly though, if they are blemishes in color, careful design
work could place the blemish in a darker color of dye which would be more
likely to cover the discrepancies.

Hope this helps,
Eliane


Date: Tue, 7 Sep 1999 18:33:41 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jenne Heise <jenne@tulgey.browser.net>
To: sca-arts@raven.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: onion skins

On Tue, 7 Sep 1999, Peter B. Steiner wrote:
> <chuckle>
> My great grandmother used to dye a portion of the easter eggs with this onion
> skin/vinegar solution every year. She called them "Bunny Eggs". My Mom
> followed the tradition, which has apparently been around in our old German
> family for a long time.....so I learned the recipe as a child. Now I wonder
> just how many generations it has passed through before it arrived at the
> present? Can you document the use of this dyestuff in Medieval Europe?
> Thanks for the memory!
> -Peter-

Hm... there's an interesting analysis of the history of dyed eggs-- both
ones with designs (like pisanki) and plain dyed ones (called in the slavic
countries krashanki, in the book: _An egg at Easter; a folklore study._
by Newall, Venetia. Indiana University Press [1971].

Jadwiga Zajaczkowa


Date: Wed, 8 Sep 1999 05:05:19 -0400
From: Margo Lynn Hablutzel <Hablutzel@compuserve.com>
To: "INTERNET:sca-arts@raven.cc.ukans.edu" <sca-arts@raven.cc.ukans.edu>
Subject: Re: onion skins

Peter chuckled:
>> My great grandmother used to dye a portion of the easter
>> eggs with this onion skin/vinegar solution every year.
>> She called them "Bunny Eggs". ..... Can you document
>> the use of this dyestuff in Medieval Europe?

Actually, YES, and for eggs no less!

In "A Drizzle of Honey" (Gitlitz & Davidson, 1999, ISBN 0-312-19860-4) at=
74-76, they cite a 15th-Century source for "vermilioned hard-boiled eggs"
("huevos haminados") and then give the recipe, which involves cooking eggs
with onion skins to colour them.

--- Morgan

Morgan Cain * Hablutzel@compuserve.com
Barony of the Steppes * Ansteorra


Date: Sat, 6 Nov 99 01:16:57 -0600 (CST)
From: Debra Poole <dpoole1@airmail.net>
Subject: Re: SC - Blown eggs, Long!

I am a lot less happy about using them for a feast, given my usual
technique >of "blowing" eggs is to make holes bottom & top & then blow
contents of egg out >thru bottom hole. This is not really very hygienic
(likely to have contents of >my saliva in it) and whilst I don't have
anything catching, I know that if I >was a feaster, I wouldn't be happy
about eating the resultant egg products. >So, has anyone else successfully
"blown" eggs in any other more hygienic manner >(eg, drawn egg up thru hole
in a syringe?)

I practice an art form called Pysanky and it uses blown eggs as a finished
product. Because you blow the egg after it is dyed it can have a very
dissagreeable taste, so I have experimented with multiple ways to blow eggs.
The best way I have found so far is to use a special tool called a blas- fix
that I got for around five dollars. (I got mine from the ukrainian gift
shop 612-788-2545. I have only ordered from them once so I don't much about
them but their catalog is free) It uses a small hand held tool to insert
air into the egg through a long attached needle. It is also useful for
breaking the yolk. Most of the time if an egg shell is going to break
during the emptying process it will be as the yolk comes out. The only
other way that has really worked for me is to insert a "bendy" straw with
the short end in the egg and blow through the long end. This does not
address the issue of contamination.

Depending on your budget you can purchase pre-blown egg shell also. They
are a great time saver but not cheap. Each egg shell is about 50-75 cents
depending on where you get them.

Mere
Barony of the Steppes
Kingdom of Ansteorra


Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 14:30:09 -0600
From: "Debra R. Poole" <dpoole1@airmail.net>
Subject: Re: SC - Ukrainian Easter Eggs

I also do pysanka (which is the name of the art form). I
have found several sources for documentation. Due to the
nature of the art form surviving specimens from period do
not exist as far as I know, (anyone has any other
information and I would love to know). But I have secondary
documentation of a gift to an English King in the 1100 or
1200's. I'll try to find the book it is in, it may take me
a while my library is not all out of storage. I also have a
picture of an illuminated manuscript in a book that contains
an egg decorated similar to pysanka. Since there is more
than one way to produce the look of pysanka I can not offer
this as absolute proof. I also have several books on the
subject that I consider questionable at best for
documentation but the one that I have handy states that
decorating eggs started in ancient Egypt and Persia. It
goes on to say that the art form was pre 998 in the Ukraine
which is the only date it has. It's bibliography does not
exist so for our purposes it is useless as documentation but
it is one of the best books I have seen on producing an egg.
Plus it covers a lot of the symbolism and back ground to the
art. Everything from the type of wax used, the colors, the
amount of white or dark areas, and even the egg its self
means something. The book is Decorating Eggs by Jane
Pollak: ISBN 0-8069-9420-7. Now that is more than you ever
wanted to know about Easter eggs but if I can answer any
other questions I will be happy to. When I find the
remaining documentation I will post it.

Lady Meredudd Brangwyn
Barony of the Steppes
Kingdom of Ansteorra


Date: Tue, 16 May 2000 11:17:30 -0500
From: Jenn/Yana <jdmiller2@students.wisc.edu>
Subject: Re: Egg dying question

Bogdan asked RE pysanky, and I answer thusly:

There are several webpages about modern pysanky listed on the Russian
Knowledge page under "art".
<http://www.sit.wisc.edu/~jdmiller2/knowledge/art.html>

I don't believe we have any evidence for pysanky (actual painted eggs)
being period. However, a ceramic egg (which is labeled an Easter egg,
although it could have been used for other purposes) was found in the
Novgorod digs. No information about its decoration (if any) or its
construction are given in my source (The Archaeology of Novogorod, Russia.
The Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series: no 13). From what I
can figure, it was found in the 12th century layers. I could have sworn
that there was a mention of wooden eggs being found as well, but I can't
seem to locate the cite anywhere. Since pysanky seem to have originated in
Ukraine (don't know the time period) there may be evidence that I don't
know of, since I focus on Russia and Rus'.

--Yana


Date: Tue, 16 May 2000 13:32:33 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jenne Heise <jenne@tulgey.browser.net>
Subject: Re: Egg dying question

> I don't believe we have any evidence for pysanky (actual painted eggs)
> being period.

Anecdotal evidence from the canonization hearings for St. Hedwig suggests
that at the time that St. Hedwig was canonized (1267), colored eggs were
used as grave offerings in Silesia, since the story related by Sophie Knab
in Polish Traditions, Customs & Folklore says that a littel crippled boy
regained his mobility chasing a colored egg at the tomb of St. Hedwig.

There are some interesting allegations about the history of colored eggs
in _An Egg at Easter: A folklore study_ by Venetia Newall. (Bloomington,
Indiana University Press [1971]) I don't remember what she says, though.
If I get a chance I will go look it up.

Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, mka Jennifer Heise


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 22:24:04 -0700
From: "Bob Markovitch" <markovitch@erols.com>
Subject: Re: Pysanky in Ukraine

> I don't believe we have any evidence for pysanky (actual painted eggs)
> being period. Since pysanky seem to have originated in
> Ukraine (don't know the time period) there may be evidence that I don't
> know of,
>
> --Yana

From what evidence I've read, the Pysanky (from the Ukrainian,
"pysaty" to write date back to before the Rus' period of Ukrainian
history, at least to the Trypillian culture, perhaps back 1500 years or
much more in Ukrainian history. It has long been said that the the themes
used in decorating pysynky orignated in pre-Christian Ukraine.
Ukrainians have a second method of coloring eggs by soaking them in beet
juice, the result is called "Krashanky".

--Svyatoslav Izbornyk


Date: Fri, 19 May 2000 13:55:28 -0700
From: Bob Markovitch <markovitch@erols.com>
To: Jeff Heilveil <heilveil@uiuc.edu>
Subject: Re: Krashanky

> Salut! Were these eggs merely dipped in beet juice, or were they also
> dipped in wax and had designs carved out prior to the dipping in beet
> juice?
>
> Also, would it be possible to get some of the documentation for the
> origins of Pysanky and Krashanky??
>
> Bogdan

Bogdan,

The krashanky I've seen were just dipped in beet juice, I think
perhaps boiled in it, and they were solid in color (or somewhat solid,
tye-dyed like) designs. Like the Pysanky (pyh-san-KYH in the plural) the
Krashanky were ritual foods at the celebration of the Resurrection of
Christ.

There are some pysanky websites, where I learned how ancient the art
form is, and there is actually a "Beautiful Pysanky Webring" on the
"WebRing" system on the world wide web.

Bob

<the end>


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