Ladder Motifs



Ladders are sometimes seen on pysanky, although they are not a particularly common motif.  They are rows of parallel or crossed dashes or other rounded, faceted elements, per Selivachov. “Drabynky”  are not emphasized in Ukrainian folklore but, as Selivachov notes, they are a “universally understandable image of ascension, perfection (and) connection between heaven and earth.”

This Podillian pysanka may be an example of crossed dashes being used as a ladder:

This pysanka from the Kirovohrad region appears to have ladders incorporated into the dividing band motif:

Because parallel lines are used for infilling in many regions of Ukraine, it can be hard sometimes to tell if something is actually a ladder motif, or if you are looking at a mere decorative feature. We see what look like ladders on these Podillian pysanky, but it might just be artistry. 


The ladder is also one of the attributes of the Crucifixion.  You will often see it on large crucifixes, like the roadside crosses of Volyn:

Selivachov also points out that a characteristic Ukrainian icon was one called “The Watchful Eye”  (Недремне око), and it depicted Christ as a child sleeping on the cross, surrounded by the attributes of his torture and crucifixion, including a ladder.

Gallery       Resheto


Gallery       Resheto

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