Displaying

Pysanky

 

Pysanky are beautiful, and so, naturally, people want to show them off. How should one display them?  There are many ways, but remember to keep them out of direct sunlight, or they will fade.

Traditionally, pysanky were talismanic objects, not objects of art.  They were usually kept in a bowl in the pokuttia, the corner of the house where the icons were kept. Some were placed in the barn, in the fields, in the beehives to ensure fertility. 

But there were other traditional ways of storing/displaying pysanky, two of which are pictured above.  The best known is hanging them as birds.  Shukhevych wrote about this in “Hutsulshchyna”: people would attach paper wings and a paper tail to a pysanka, and a wax head.  This bird would then be hung in the pokuttia near the icons.


Another “traditional” method, albeit a more recent one, is making a “namysto (string of beads)” out of blown out pysanky.  They are strung on a sting, and then hung in the house.  I have seen a few references to this being a Hutsul custom, and have seen examples in museum displays іn Ukraine (photo below from the Museum of the Pysanka).  Since pysanky were not emptied in earlier times, one must assume this is not a tradition which goes back very far.



Pysanky in a pavuk (straw mobile), as in the photo at the top, are also fairly recent, and for the same reason--emptied pysanky.

Pysankarky have taken to displaying their pysanky in frames, on wall, in recent years.  Often the pysanky are strung on a string, and then arranged in crosses, starbursts, spirals.   The photo at the top left is such a construction.

    

One man has taken the stringing of pysanky to an extreme, and created a “kylym” of Lemko pysanky, which currently hangs in the Museum of the Pysanka in Kolomyia:




How do most people display their pysanky at home?  There are a variety of possibilities!

Bowls These are one of the more common ways of displaying pysanky–put a bunch in a bowl, and leave them out for all to see and enjoy. Glass, ceramic and wooden bowls all look lovely when filled with pysanky.



Baskets  A willow basket makes a gorgeous backdrop for traditional pysanky, as in the one pictured below (from Sister Veronika’s book of pysanky).


Other types of baskets work well, too, as in this lovely carved wooden basket.......


....or this beautiful woven basket.



Plates  The glass plates meant for serving deviled eggs are a natural for displaying pysanky, as can be seen by this lovely display of Kiwi pysanky by Evan Lewis.



Egg cups  Plain or decorated egg cups are a lovely way of displaying pysanky...just make sure the designs don’t clash, and perhaps use a bit of sticky wax to secure your egg.


Shot glasses. All good Ukrainian households have at least a few. And they are good for displaying pysanky....as are brandy snifters and large wineglasses.  A pysanka can be perched on top of a shot glass, of place within the bowl of the wine glass or bandy snifter.

Egg stands  А variety of egg stands have been made and sold for displaying pysanky.  Single egg stands are available in a variety of materials, including plastics, glass, wood and metals. These are a few of those sold by the Ukrainian Gift Shop and others:

 

Egg stands exist for multiple eggs, too.  Some of the more “traditional” pysanky stands sold will hold three eggs (and sometime incorporate a candle holder).  And then you can find stands like this one:




Hanging  One popular way of displaying pysanky is by hanging them.  Many of the pysanky sold in Ukraine come threaded on a wool string.  They can be hung individually or in a bunch.


In North America, small metal findings are often glued to pysanky and these are used to hang them, much like Christmas tree ornaments. The pysanky below (Lemko designs) were photographed in the Museum of the Pysanka, in Kolomyia.



Glass vases  Pysanky can be placed in a tall, clear glass vase or hurricane lantern for display, too.  The only drawback is that pysanky towards the middle won’t be seen.



Display cases  Pysanky can be displayed in all sorts of cases, either custom built, or adapted.  Shadow boxes, like the one below, show off pysanky quite well.  This case was originally intended for displaying golf balls. A glass front is protective; it will keep the dust off, but not keep sunlight out.



A collection of pysanky created by Orest Lechnowsky and his family,

displayed in a golf ball display case with a glass door








  Empty Eggs        Artistic
 




  


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Displaying pysanky