Wisconsin Historical Society

Online Exhibit

From Shell to Symbol: Art of the Ethnic Easter Egg

Art of Ethnic Easter Eggs | Wisconsin Historical Society
EnlargeRed, black and yellow decorative Ukrainian Easter egg.

Sunburst Egg, 1983-1990

One of many eggs decorated in the sunflower and sunburst motifs, representing the arrival of spring. Decorated by Betty Pisio Christenson. Museum object 1996.118.358

Decorated eggs have ancient origins. For thousands of years, eggs have served as symbols of new life and renewal. Throughout much of Europe, eggs were decorated and given as gifts in festivals celebrating the return of the sun in the spring. With the onset of Christianity, Easter religious celebrations absorbed these ancient customs.

In this online exhibit you'll see delicate, hand-decorated eggs that represent the work of four Wisconsin artists sustaining their ethnic and religious traditions.  

View the Online Exhibit