International Journal of Art & Design Education

Talismans of the Carpatho-Rusyn Woman: The Ritual Practices and Symbol System in the Art of Pysanky

Volume 18.3   1999



This paper provides an historical review of the art of Rusyn Easter Eggs. The use of symbolism, colour, and the talismanic qualities of each design will be discussed along with the ritualistic practices adhered to in the making of these egg designs. Pysanky making in the past had been a ritual, handed down from mother to daughter, where codes of conduct were practised and traditional symbols and colours were used to create the designs on each egg. After the pysanky were made, they were used in traditional Easter festivities. While pysanky are still made by Carpatho-Rusyn women today, their magical qualities have been lost. Old symbols continue to be used along with new designs, techniques, and colours.