The “Eight” division is a simple and straightforward one, and quite common in Ukrainian pysankarstvo.  To create this division, one simply divides the surface of the egg in half around the middle, then in half longitudinally–twice.

The dividing bands can be anything from a simple lines to intricately ornamented bands.  You can see the range of possibilities below.

The motifs are usually symmetric, in that they are either identical in all the wedges (below, left), or they alternate in a regular fashion (below, right).


«Огірочки» (cucumbers) from eastern Polissya and «Сосенка» (pine) from western Polissya

One interesting aspect of this division is that where the dividing lines intersect, they form a cross, which is not just a Christian symbol, but also a powerful pagan symbol (especially in its equal-armed, compound version).  Many pysankary take advantage of this geometric quirk to create decorative crosses or eight-pointed stars within wider dividing bands at the intersections, as is demonstrated in these two pysanky from the Bukovynian village of Roztoky:


Creating this division is quite simple.  Begin by dividing the egg horizontally, around the middle (A). Then draw a line around the egg vertically, from one pole, through the other, and back again (B).

                             A                                 B      

This gives you a simple cross division.  Measure halfway between each of the up and down lines, mark the spot (
), and draw a second line around the egg, passing through both poles and through each mark (C). These three lines give you an “eight” division (D).  (Note: the egg in the illustration D is simply turned 45° from that in C.)

C                                 D       

The dividing lines can easily be expanded into dividing bands.  This is done by drawing lines, in pencil, parallel to teach of them (F).  These pencil lines are then waxed in (F).

E                                 F  

The result is a pysanka that looks like this (G).


Motifs are then placed into the eight “wedges” according to your pattern.  They may be identical, alternating or, as in my students’ pysanky, each wedge may be totally different.


NOTE: for my classes, I generally draw a basic “Eight” division (in advance, before class) onto all the eggs I have my students use.  (I also inspect, clean and candle all the eggs well before class. When working with children, especially young ones, I will empty the eggs, too.)  It saves time in class, as most first-time students ask for help in dividing their egg. It also makes it easier for students to plot their designs, whether they end up using this division or not, as they can easily use this division as a basis for creating just about any other.

  Cross Division        Star Division

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Note:  All photos, illustrations and text © Luba Petrusha 2007-2017. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction prohibited without expressed consent.  May contact via e-mail (link below).


Two by Two by Two