Ukrainian Easter eggs (pysanky) by Betty Pisio Christenson, 1983-1990
Betty Pisio Christenson of Suring, Wisconsin dyed these eggs in intricate, decorative designs, following a Ukrainian folk tradition. Christenson taught herself the technique for making pysanky after seeing examples while visiting relatives in Canada in 1975.
Pysanky have a political as well as a religious meaning. The decorated eggs symbolize the survival and rebirth of Ukrainian culture among people who left the Ukraine for America during the period of Soviet suppression of ethnic religious expressions. The eggs evolved from a deeply symbolic expression of Easter known in the Ukrainian Orthodox tradition to an outward symbol of national identity for a broader audience.
One of these two eggs incorporates numerous triangle designs representing the Christian Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This egg also features crosshatching motifs that symbolize fishing nets, as Jesus Christ was known as the “fisher of men.” The vibrant depiction of a poppy on the other egg represents the Ukrainian homeland. The poppy is a familiar and beloved symbol of joy and beauty for the Ukrainian people.