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From Shell to Symbol


Stephanie Lemke shows a
string-decorated egg at the
2002 Midwest Folklife
Festival Teacher's Institute

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.

Made from actual chicken and goose eggs, the delicate objects are hand-decorated with elaborate, richly symbolic designs. They represent the work of four Wisconsin artists sustaining their ethnic and religious traditions.

See the Eggs

The Wax-Resist Process
Decorating with Ribbons
Eye of God
Symbols from the Ukraine
Wheat Harvest
Rooster
Triangles and Crosshatching
Ukrainian Homeland
The Cross


The decorated eggs in this exhibit derive from several eastern European traditions.

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