Pysanky from Poltava often utilize plant motifs; birds are less common, but the magpie pysanka above is quite well known. Birds are sometimes seen on pysanky, but rarely in the central Ukrainian regions of Ukraine; floral motifs are much more common there.  Kulzhynskyi first recorded the «Сороки» (“Soroky,” magpies) in the late 19th century.  This was his version on the left; Onyshchuk’s (which she has renamed “Vorony,” crows) is on the right:


Although the birds are referred to specifically as magpies, there are no specific features which would identify them as such.  Bird symbols on traditional folk pysanky were usually quite stylized; while they may be given the names of specific birds, they are not naturalistic in the least.

The design sheet below has a simplified version, with only three magpies per side instead of four. Other changers are due to Onyshchuk’s version being used. The pysanka at the top of the page is written from the design sheet.

Technical details: This is a moderately difficult pysanka, but still a reasonable pattern for beginners. The pysanka uses a simple “Lateral” division.  The main difficulty in this design stems from its non-geometric nature.

As with most simple traditional designs, a medium or heavy stylus is best for the lines, and of course a heavy one for the dots, blobs, and coloring in.

This patterns utilizes a characteristic palette of yellow, red and black dyes. (Note that the magpies’ tails should be waxed in white.)

Download this pattern sheet:



  Poltava 1        Volyn

Back to MAIN Patterns page.

Back to MAIN Regional Pysanky page.

Back to MAIN Traditional Pysanky page.

Search my site with Google