The exhibition of pre-Christian Easter eggs in Lviv. Our photo tour

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Few Lviv’s locals know that in the very centre of the city, there is a unique exhibition of Easter eggs [called «pysanky» in Ukrainian] and embroidery representing different parts of Ukraine. There is even an exact copy of the oldest pysanka, which was found in Ukraine. Lviv Now invites you to a photo tour of the museum.

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The museum is located in Vicheva Square. The collection of more than 1,500 copies was created in Canada by a student nun from the Hutsul region and, according to her will, was transported to Lviv in the 1990s.

«Many foreigners come to us, but most likely, people who live in neighbouring houses are unlikely to know about this collection,» – the nun of the Holy Intercession Monastery Vasiyana Hladka says.

The Holy Intercession Monastery, formerly known as the Monastery of the Benedictine Sisters, is located in a cosy place on Vicheva Street, 2. The monastery has a school of St. Sophia, as well as music and theological school. A small, but no less unique museum of Easter eggs and embroidery appeared here about 20 years ago after 1,500 Easter eggs were brought here from a Ukrainian monastery in Canada.

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The author of the museum’s collection, Daria Dublyanytsia

«All the works in the museum were created by the sister of Daria Dublyanytsya, a nun of the Holy Intercession Monastery in Canada. She was an artist. She loved embroidery and collected Easter eggs. She made copies of Easter eggs from museums and private collections in Canada and Europe. I tried to preserve the history of pysanka painting for Ukraine because pysanka was banned here at that time,» – the nun Vasiyana says.

Daria Dublyanytsya not only decorated Easter eggs, but also researched them. She meticulously and skillfully reproduced Easter eggs from all over Ukraine. In 1982, Abbess Daria and nun Veronica edited and published a German-language book «Easter Eggs. The origin and significance of Ukrainian Easter eggs».

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According to sister Vasiyana, Daria Dublyanytsia has never been to Ukraine, but her family came from the Hutsul area in the Carpathians. At the beginning of the 20th century, her grandfather Stepan Vytvytskyi was a musician and public figure, he came from Kolomyia in the Ivano-Frankivsk region. In 1918, he read the Universal on Independent Ukraine near Sophia of Kyiv and was the president of the Ukrainian People’s Republic in exile.

During her life, Sister Daria ornamented more than 54,000 Easter eggs. She has donated many works to various museums in Europe. In 1993, she donated more than 200 Easter eggs to the Andrei Sheptytskyi National Museum in Lviv, where they confirmed that the work of the abbot’s mother was of high quality and unparalleled.

In the museum of the Holy Intercession Monastery, all the works are neatly arranged in glazed cabinets and signed by region. Hutsul and Podillya are the most represented in the collection. There are also Easter eggs with ornaments of central Galicia, Boykivshchyna, Bukovyna, Volyn, Polissya, Zakarpattia, Vinnytsia, Kholmshchyna, East and South of Ukraine. Easter eggs of the master are presented by ethnoregions of almost all of Ukraine. You can find Easter eggs from the Lviv region, namely from Sokal.

You can also see Easter eggs with ornaments typical of other countries such as Poland or Slovakia. The museum has accessories that Sister Daria used for Easter painting.

The collection has a special feature – a work that is an exact copy of the first Easter egg found in Ukraine. Sister Vasiyana says that this ornament has come to us since pre-Christian times.

This is what the pre-Christian Easter egg looked like

«All the works of Daria Dublyanytsia came to us in boxes of eggs. Some of them were signed, but we studied many ornaments ourselves and determined the region of origin. Some works are still unfinished,» – the nun says.

He says that in the monastery, they even learned to restore Easter eggs. Every year, the nuns wipe, varnish and care for the pysanky. These Easter eggs are over 30 years old, but all of them look like they were painted yesterday.

Since Sister Daria, in addition to Easter eggs, was also engaged in embroidery and icon painting, you can also see such works of hers at the exhibition. Sister Vasiyana says that about 200 embroideries of the abbot’s mother are also collected here.

In addition to a tour of the unique exhibition, you can buy Easter eggs of modern Lviv masters and craftswomen. And there is a lot of valuable literature on Easter painting for those who want to try themselves in this art, or have long been interested in this Ukrainian tradition.

The exhibition in the monastery is permanent and is open daily from 12:00 to 18:00, except Sundays, Mondays and public holidays. But it is possible to get to the exhibition at other hours, if you call the phone number listed on the door of the temple. Here you will be glad to meet and tell about the history of the exhibition and the traditions of Ukrainian Easter painting.

Anna Chystiakova, translated by Vitalii Holich

Photo by the author

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Lviv Now is an English-language website for Lviv, Ukraine’s «tech-friendly cultural hub.» It is produced by Tvoe Misto («Your City») media-hub, which also hosts regular problem-solving public forums to benefit the city and its people.

 



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