«Писанки одного села»

The pysanky of a single village

The pysanky in the albums below were collected by Ukrainian artist Ivan Balan, and consist of pysanky he collected from Roztoky, a village in Chernivtsi oblast.  Balan began buying pysanky in the market there back in the 1970s.  He continued to collect pysanky through the 1980s, 1990s, and into the 21st century, both in Roztoky and other parts of Bukovyna, eventually amassing a collection of more than 750 traditional eggs, including pysanky and malyovanky. Of that number,  some 200 have been lost (lent to a friend), and those remaining were photographed by me in August of 2009.  The photos appear in this section (“Bukovyna”) and here.

Most of Balan’s pysanky came from a single village, Roztoky, for the simple reason that he had a relative of sorts, a kuma, who lived there and whom he often visited. He is a collector of all sorts of folk art, and enjoyed visiting the local market, where he would look for antique plates, topirtsi, ceramic whistles, and any other interesting objects he could find. Before Easter, local pysankary would sell their pysanky, and he would buy them, accruing hundreds over the years.  They are the work of many different hands, but, if you study them, certain styles and preferred divisions and motifs emerge.

Because there are so many pysanky from this one village, I have divided them up into a series of albums based on the division of the pysanka, and secondarily by motif.  It is a work in progress.  The last album, “Churches,” contains pysanky found in the previous albums.  I created it because churches are a fairly common motif on Bukovynian and Hutsul pysanky, but not on those from other regions of Ukraine.  I thought it would be interesting to bring a series of these pysanky together, to make it easier to compare, contrast and enjoy them.

The illustration at the top of this page is the work of Balan, and represents four pysanky from his collection.

(Note: the numeration of these eggs, i.e. the  “Балан - №,” simply reflects the order in which they were photographed and their data recorded.  It is just my bookkeeping system.)

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