Colors on Pysanky Eggs, by Elizabeth Mesh

Blue, red, purple, turquoise, green, and gold are just some of the colors you will see on an egg. And all of them have personal meaning to their creator. However, in traditional Pysanky-making, there are some general guidelines.

In the next several weeks, I will outline reasons as to why an egg is a certain color and what it means.

Depicted in the accompanying image is a modern version of a Trypillian egg. The Trypillian people lived 8,000 years ago and wandered the region we now call Eastern Europe. The name represents the place in the Ukraine where remnants of that culture were first discovered. 4,000-year-old painted egg shells were preceded by painted wooden eggs found in the graves of the Trypillian people.

As you can see from the photo, the painted shapes and colors resemble some of the tribal art created around the same time in Africa and the Americas. I find it interesting that, with no known trade among these peoples, their artwork can look so similar across continents at the same time in history.

The colors of these eggs are black, red, white, and sometimes yellow. This is because the dyes used then were created from local plant life. At the time, the egg represented something to the Trypillian people that was a complete mystery: the origin of life and how to create it. As a result, the egg was a very powerful symbol to them, and painting an egg or egg shape was, perhaps, a way to honor it.

These days, you can create egg dyes from natural sources like vinegar, coffee, and onions. Search Better Homes & Gardens and Martha Stewart for ideas on how to do this.

Next week, we will talk about the colors of eggs as expressions of love for family and friends.


Book your own traditional egg decorating class with Elizabeth Mesh and New Mexico Artists for Hire now!

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