MU MU Libraries
home Resources and Services New Book: Treasures of the Ukraine: A Nation’s Cultural Heritage

New Book: Treasures of the Ukraine: A Nation’s Cultural Heritage

Ellis Library has acquired the book “Treasures of Ukraine: A Nation’s Cultural Heritage.” All profits are donated to PEN Ukraine,”a cultural and human rights non-governmental organization uniting Ukrainian journalists, writers, scientists, publishers, translators, human rights activists.” Call number N7255.U47 T74 2022.

“Treasures of Ukraine” celebrates art and monuments from Ukraine, showing more than one hundred objects and buildings. The information and objects range from the prehistoric era to contemporary art with a special chapter on folk art.

One of the most popular and interesting types of folk art is pysanky, the art of decorating eggs. A small hole is drilled into an egg to drain the contents, and they are then hand decorated using a wax resist tool known as a kistka, which allows the artist to “write” with wax. The egg is dipped in dye and drawn on again and again, and the wax is then melted off with a candle to reveal the final design.  These can be simple designs but are often incredibly detailed. This tradition dates back to pre-Christian spring rites.

Ukrainian folk art is also seen in ceramic work, dating back generations.  According to a document from 1834, serf master potters were required to make thousands of creations a year for their wages.  Once serfdom was abolished, potters continued to make their goods to sell at markets. Another popular example of Ukrainian folk art is the vyshyvanka, an embroidered shirt for men and women, often with vastly different designs, based on the artist’s region. A common theme running through Ukrainian folk art is the use of color. Whether seen in embroidery or eggs, the use of bright colors is seen throughout.

“Treasures of Ukraine” is a beautiful book featuring dozens of images of art and monuments, showcasing the best of Ukraine. It’s definitely worth a read (or look!).

Interesting in trying pysanky? Check out this shop!

View contemporary pysanky art on Instagram

View vyshyvanka on Instagram