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Vyshyvanka as an integral attribute of the Ukrainians

Iryna Kharko

Author

  Home-woven linen, a variety of ornamental motifs: from geometric elements to images of animals, birds and plants; symbolism and colours - the traditional authenticity of the Ukrainian embroidered shirt.

  Vyshyvanka is not only a bright manifestation of the originality of our culture but also a kind of marker of ethnocultural tradition. Due to the perfection of artistic practices, it conveys the eternal experience of human life, features of customs, beliefs, rituals and worldview. In addition, this is almost the only element that is most common in the wardrobe of Ukrainians today.

  Every year, on the third Thursday in May, the eyes run away from the number and variety of embroideries again because this is World Vyshyvanka Day!

  One of the characteristic features of the Ukrainian shirt is its white colour. It is an ancient tradition that white, in general, was widespread among the Slavs. Hemp and linen cloth was used as a material for production.

  Ukrainian vyshyvankas are unique and have a peculiar folk art tradition related to regional specifics.

  The compositional solution is marked by various ornamental motifs, geometric (rhombuses, rosettes, octagonal stars) and plant or zoomorphic.

  Embroidery seams, so-called techniques, have a decisive influence on their character. There are more than 200 embroidery techniques and their varieties of Ukraine!

There is an opinion that the main function of the ornament is aesthetic and magical. Our ancestors believed that embroidering one or another ornament can protect oneself from a "bad" look or an "evil" eye, enlist support in various endeavours, and so on. That is why the embroidered shirt was a talisman for a man.

Among the symbols of the main ornaments are:

  • Hop is a symbol of flow, life and family
  • Oak and viburnum - beauty, strength and life
  • Poppy - protection from evil
  • The rhombus is a symbol of fertility
  • The circle is a symbol of harmony
  • Wavy lines - water, spring
  • The square is a symbol of the four corners of the world
  • Swallow - good news
  • Nightingale - a continuation of the genus

A special feature of the Ukrainian vyshyvankas is its extremely harmonious colour solutions, which reflect the high level of the aesthetic and artistic culture of the nation.

Black - symbolizes the Earth

Red - means joy, passion, love and love of life

White - the colour of purity, innocence, holiness

Blue is the colour of the sky and water, a symbol of purification, peace of mind and relief from disease

Green - the colour of plants, is a symbol of spring and youth

Yellow - is a symbol of the night lights of the moon and stars, but at the same time is considered the colour of separation

  The ethnographic features of embroidery on shirts reveal many regional differences.

  The calling card of the Poltava region is white-on-white embroidery - a harmonious combination of floral and geometric ornaments using a wide arsenal of techniques.

  Plant-geometrized ornaments, with stylized bunches of grapes, made of red and black threads with a slight tinge of yellow predominate in the embroideries of the Kyiv region.

  The northern regions of Ukraine (part of Chernihiv and Volyn) are characterized by vyshyvankas with straight settings and geometric rectilinear ornament made of red threads. Embroidery patterns are simple, antique and mostly with rhombus and octagonal star motifs.

  According to the nature of the decoration, Podillia shirts have a special place. They are distinguished by polychrome embroidery, unique in both colour and ornament. The main background is black with a lot of red, and sometimes only orange. Vyshyvankas from Borshchiv (Ternopil region) are especially famous. They stand out by densely embroidered sleeves, black.

  For shirts from Bukovyna, beadwork is inherent, and in general, a kind of embroidery material (silk, wool, silver and gold threads).

  Hutsul embroidery is characterized by a variety of geometric, floral patterns and contrasting colour combinations. In the Ivano-Frankivsk region, sleeves have always been richly decorated.

  Floral and geometric ornaments predominate in the Lviv region. Shirts from the Yavoriv district have a kind of embroidery technique - "Yavorivka". It is a combination of red, yellow, green and black colours and embossed patterns of plant ornaments.

You can buy an embroidered shirt here:

Skyba

Goyra

Ethno

Koza-Dereza

Sloboganka

Galychanka

Petrivka

Melanika 

Hudz

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