Regional Patterns



          Bukovyna:   “Scythe”


        Chernihiv:   “Sunflower”



          Halychyna:   “Oak Leaves”


           Hutsul:   “Hearts”

           Kharkiv:   “Kalyna (Viburnum) Leaves”


           Kherson:   “Swallow Tails”


           Kholm:   “Lateral Rose”


           Kuban:   “Old Woman”


         Kurshchyna:   “Spider”

         (near Kursk)


          Odesa:   “Black Sea”


          Pidliashia:   “Curly-Headed Ladies”



            Podillia:   “Drake (male duck)”

           Podillia:   “Eight Pointed Star”

          Podillia:   “Plums”



          Pokuttia:   “Arrowheads”


         Polissia:   “Pine Branches”


        Polissia:   “Trefoils”

            Poltava:   “Tulips”


           Poltava:   “Magpies”


           Volyn:   “Willow”


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Ethnographic Map of Ukraine from Ukrainian Arts, (Edited by A. Mitz; published by the Ukrainian Youth

League of North America, Inc., New York, 1955; pg. 17).

Below are step-by-step patterns for making pysanky of traditional designs from the various regions of Ukraine.  I originally created them for teaching pysanka classes in Ukraine, but have used them here in the States as well, to give my students some idea of what sorts of pysanky their ancestors used to make.  Although the patterns are ancient, their simplicity bespeaks a timelessness which makes them look quite modern.

The tradition of pysankarstvo had been handed down, in Ukraine, since time immemorial, from generation to generation.  Sadly, their creation was banned in Soviet times, and much of this folk knowledge was lost; this was especially true in the east, which was under Soviet hegemony much longer than western Ukraine.  Pysanky were considered a purely religious art form by the Soviets, and were strictly forbidden.  Many thousands of pysanky in museums and private collections were destroyed, and there was virtually no scholarship done on the subject until recent times.

The pattern sheets on these pages are based on exemplars found in Elyjiw’s Plast stamps as well as Odarka Onyshchuk’s book “Symbolism of the Ukrainian Pysanka,” and are available in pdf format. I have included both English and Ukrainian versions (downloadable) on the linked pages.

Please note that I made a few minor errors when writing the pysanky in the photos below, so your result may be a bit different than the pictured pysanka....if you follow the instructions.   And there are a few minor errors in the patterns.  Well, they are free.

Vira Manko’s  ethnographic map can give you some idea of the where the various regions of Ukraine are located, as can this old map (above) from “Ukrainian Arts.”  The patterns below are listed by their region of origin. Click on the link to take you to a page where you can learn about these traditional designs and download English or Ukrainian versions of the pattern sheets.