In many regions, the sosonka was a favorite motif.  The sosonka is the horsetail plant, Equisetum arvense, the first greenery to appear in the spring. It is a symbol of spring, life, rebirth.

The sosonka motif appears in many shapes and forms, one of the most common being similar to a pine branch, but without any branching–it is a straight line with smaller ones coming off of it.

As such, it is often confused with the sosna, or pine branch.

But the sosonka, as can be seen from the illustration at the top of the page, is not so simple.  and there are many other versions of it among pysanka and other folk art motifs.  Selivachov gives us this set:


1) Vinnytsia (a-c), Poltava (d-f)

  1. 2)Priashiv, Elizavethrad, West Polissia

  2. 3)Boiko

  3. 4)Poltava (a)

  4. 5)Lemko

  5. 6)Poltava

  6. 7)Boiko

  7. 8)Boiko

10) Kyiv (a)

The pysanka below on the left is an example of a sosonka motif, and is from the Lemko regions; it is an example of the drop-pull technique of pysankarstvo.  On the right is a depiction of a ceramic pysanka from the tenth century; it also displays a sosonka motif, demonstrating the antiquity of this symbol.


And this is an fairly straightforward example of sosonka from the Boyko region:

This pysanka, also called “Sosonka,” is from Shuliavka, near Kyiv (once a separate village, it has become swallowed up into the metropolis).  It has a quite different appearance, one characteristic of Shuliavka, but one can make out the classic shape of the open plant. In Selivachov’s diagram above, it is 10a.

Another example of a full bodied version of the sosonka is this one from Vinnytsia oblast (Podillia):


CAVEAT: Selivachov points out that, in some regions, like Poltavshchyna, the terms sosna (pine) and sosonka or sosenka were often used interchangeably, due to the similarity of their etymology.  We cannot always be sure which is being referred to, unless the researcher taking down the information was punctilious about getting such detailed botanical information.



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