Volynian Pysanky

Волинські Писанки


Color Schemes

Volynian pysanky, in general, have fairly simple color schemes, usually limiting their color palette to yellow, red and black. Sometimes green may replace black, but the two are rarely seen together on the same egg.  Some of the simpler pysanky may have a final color of brown or deep red instead. 

The red/green color combination occurs with some frequency, and it is difficult to reproduce with aniline dyes, as green is often the final color.  Sumtsov tells us that pysankarky used “decolorizing agents” like beet kvas or alum to remove red dye, so that a pysanka could then be dyed green.  To achieve the same effect, modern pysankarky use various techniques. We are used to dyeing eggs green first, and then using an orange rinse to get to red.  Sometimes this will not let us replicate the old designs, so an orange rinse, followed by a yellow rinse, will usually do the trick.  Washing off the red with a mild soap (like Ivory liquid) would also work, but sometimes the colors do not take well after washing.

Modern aniline dyes do not reproduce many of the traditional colors well, as aniline dyes tend to be much brighter and lighter.  Traditional reds were often orangey (cochineal) or pinkish (beets), or even deeper reds. To achieve a nice deep red color, you can mix together 1 packet each of UGS scarlet and red.

Traditional greens were a deeper green color than the kelly greens aniline dyes usually produce; leaving the egg in the light green dye longer, or overdyeing the light green with dark green will produce deeper greens. An alternative is to use some of the boutique dyes with their larger ranges of greens and reds.


The designs are relatively simply, compared to Hutsul or Bukovynian pysanky, and are predominantly geometric, with some simple plant motifs added in.  The berehynia motif can be found in pysanky from the northern areas of Volyn, the swampy region known as (western) Polissia. 

Popular divisions include a simple 8 division and sakvy (saddlebags).  Common motifs include the ruzha (large eight-pointed star), eternity bands, and stylized phytomorphic (plant) motifs. Shown below is a sakvy division with a ruzha motif:

  Sources        Pattern Sheet

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Traditional Volynian Pysanky