Fruit Motifs


Verdant abundance

Vegetables       Seeds

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Fruit motifs, with the exception of grapes, are unusual on traditional folk pysanky.  One exception, and a rare one at that, is this pysanka captured by Kulzhynsky from the village of Bilousivka, in Podillia (Tulchyn raion, Vinnytsia oblast). It has as its main motif plums:


The pysanka on the right is my recreation of the design, based on the illustration in Onyshchuk’s book (Onyshchuk has altered the colors and design somewhat).

The pysanka on the left is from Shuliavka, now a suburb of Kyiv; it is also called «Сливки» (Plums). The pysanka on the right has the same name; it is from Pokuttia, and was written by Iryna Mykhaleva using natural dyes.


This pysanka, also fixed by Kulzhynsky, is from the Kaniv region.  To my eye, these appear to be cherries or perhaps some other berries.  But there is no name given in the catalog, so guesswork is all we have.                                                                                      

Other berries are sometimes seen.  This lovely pysanka with birds and branches appears to have unidentified berries on the branches. It is from a private collection, and is probably from Pokuttia.

A popular motif on pysanky from Podillliа is strawberries.  The are usually represented by a red solid circle with white dots in it.  This is an example I recreated; It is from the village of Hushchentsi, Klynivskkyi raion, Vinnytsia oblast. 

And here are more pysanky from the same region by Vira Manko.  Pysanky 1 and 3 are from Barskyi raion of Vinnytsia oblast; they look like they might be raspberries.  Pysanky 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8 are also from Hushchentsi.  Pysanka 5 is from Trostianets in Vinnytsia oblast, and is named «листочки з карлючками» (“leaves with hooks/scribbles”).




Currants and gooseberries also occur; there are examples of dryapanky with these motifs. This is one created by my friend, Arnie Klein. 

Occasionally the kalyna (viburnum, guelder rose), appears, but usually as leaves, not berries.  The example below does have berries, but it is a Diasporan design, and not a traditional one.

Grapes are probably the most commonly found fruit motif on pysanky; per Selivachov, this motif is found in just about every region of Ukraine, and varies from highly naturalistic to highly stylized. While this motif is more common on embroidery and potter, it appears on pysanky as well.  The motif consists of a compact grouping of rounded, faceted or even linear elements reminiscent of abundant bunches of grapes.

Whatever ancient symbolism there may have been to grapes and grapevines, they are now subsumed to christian ones.  In the Christian context, the vineyard is Christ’s church, and the vine-grower is Christ himself; he is also the “True Vine.”

These are examples of grape motifs taken from pysanky and from books about pysanky:

And these are a few examples from Selivachov.  Descriptions below.


  1. 2)Vinnytsia

  2. 3)Vinnytsia

  3. 4)Lviv

The pysanka on the left, from Pokuttia, has what appear to be quite lovely grapes.  The colors are not natural, and the shape stylized, but it fits the profile.  It is from a private collection. The pysanka on the right is a design from Shuliavka, which is now a suburb of Kyiv; it was first recorded by Kulzhynsky, and is entitled «Виноград» (Grapes).


These two pysanky are reproductions of traditional designs; the line width on the one on the left is too thin,but both are otherwise fairly accurate.  The one on the right is from the Chernihiv region.



Grapes are a popular motif among Diasporan pysanky, too.  They tend to be more realistic and less abstracted, but not in all cases. These are a few examples of Diasporan grape motif pysanky.