The history of Ukrainian embroidery

It is unlikely that scientists have ever answer the question of when the first person decided to embroider pattern on the skin. Significantly also known as embroidery appeared on the territory of Ukraine, it should be possible to say just about the materials on which the embroidery was done - it is leather, cloth, felt, silk. The oldest European models, which are kept in the museums, belong to the V century, and Ukrainian embroidery is preserved only from the last few centuries (best exhibits submitted to XIX century). The embroidery made of silk, linen, wool threads, and with use of precious stones and pearls.

Ukrainian embroidery dates back to the Late Neolithic - Early Bronze Age (tribes of Tripoli culture). The elements of ornaments used by Trypillians, Sarmatians and Scythians are found even in the modern national embroidery. Among the earliest finds of art are the things that are dated VI century, found in the Cherkassy region near the village Martynivka. Among the finds are statues of the ancient inhabitants - men dressed in long, wide patterned shirt with embroidery on the chest. The Ukrainian peasants wore the same clothing 100 years ago. Among other findings are plates with the images of warriors (like were found in the Balkans, and it is believed that they were brought there by the Dnieper Slavs) - they are so precise that on the clothing of the soldiers can be noticed the smallest details, down to the embroidered inserts.



According to numerous travelers’ testimonies, the Slavs of Kievan Rus wore embroidered clothes, and after the tenth century (one of the best examples - the Ipatiev Chronicle in 1252, which states that Prince Daniil Galitsky during one of the meetings was wearing high in steering the frayed cover). Not only is the embroidery was considered one of the most respected professions sister of Vladimir Monomakh, organized in St. Andrew monastery in Kiev a special school. Young girls learned to sew it with silver and gold. It is interesting that, despite the influence of other people on the culture of ancient Russia, embroidery has remained virtually untouched - the creative potential of the people and respect the traditions were so strong that they have created their own unique style. Many of the ancient traditions of embroidery have survived - some have changed a bit (last figure was more severe and sharp angles were more common), others - have improved, but remained and original art. Interestingly, the pagan embroidery still occurs on the icons XV and later centuries. Pictures of people in those years also show us the intricate patterns that are typical today for people of certain areas, particularly in western Ukraine.



Today, in Ukrainian embroidery, you can see a completely different color designs and combination of geometric, plant and zoomorphic figures. By the way, various diamonds, squares, triangles, crosses and lines are inherent in the embroidery of all Slavic peoples since pagan times. Our ancestors were using them to display your own vision of the world - as the Egyptians with intricate characters and images displayed their vision of the world. For example, among the so-called plant ornaments prevails "tree of life" - in the form of branches or leaves. Periwinkle on the shirt or on the lap means love, and grapes mean welfare. Often animals are also components of the "tree of life", forming its three tiers. However, in some cases, not all animal embroider a whole, but some of it, bringing its value in an embroidered "message" - wolf fangs, scales, bulls-eye, etc. We must also remember that the geometric shapes could have its internal design, be it the basis or be a part of it, coupled with other pieces, forming the enchanting beauty of the picture.



Its more or less modern features Ukrainian embroidery start getting at the turn of the XVI and XVII centuries, during the heyday of the Ukrainian Cossacks. In the Cossack families reigned patriarchy, so work in the family was separated. So, every Ukrainian family has their own "sewing room" where were sewing, weaving and embroidering wife and daughters. The women wove in any free minute - after caring for livestock, after working in the field, during get-togethers with friends. Surely you notice that Ukrainians are often portrayed with white shirts with patterns - this is very old tradition. Tellingly, the pattern varies depending on the locality and each has its own value as a tattoo of the peoples of the Far East. The most recognizable schools of embroidery are Poltava’s, Hutsul’s, Podillia’s and Polissia’s. It is noteworthy that at the time served as the best feature of clothing for women - if the young man could not choose which of the young girls he should start a relationship, he looked at the skill of the potential chosen ones. The brighter, patterned and smooth drawing on the girlish dress, the stronger and whiter than the outfit itself, the more enviable bride became seamstress. In addition, the beautiful clear embroidered clothing men in Ukraine it's not so much his face as the face of his whole family.

The best women's clothes looked like this: plaid plakhta (item of underwear like a skirt), a bright corset, silk apron, bright colorful shirt made of thin fabric. However, these clothes and fabrics could afford only a well-off family. Peasants wore clothes made of coarse cloth, but do not skimp on embroidery no family - even the poorest girls had embroidery that did not yield to middle-class pretentiousness. In the XIX century, in monasteries and in the majority of landlords existed workshops art embroideries. Most products are sewed for personal use, and only a small part for sale. Interestingly, the farm cooperatives and only appeared in the middle of the XIX century, before sewing it was almost the only family affair. And increased demand for this type of product - there were collectors, connoisseurs of folk art, as well as interest in the visual arts Ukrainians showed ethnographers. The popularity of ethnic embroidery began to rise sharply - she became interested in the rich layers of the population, even abroad than once used the dealers. Even simple little embroidered shirt with a sash could cost as much as an expensive carnival outfit. Demand began to exceed supply, so there were fake - hastily stitched garments could not compete with the products, stitched with love and respect of tradition, but they have not enjoyed versed in the art of middle class demand. Widespread start getting counted cross appliances that dramatically changed many of the traditions of folk art. In addition, in the XIX century began to pay more attention to the cut lines - masters from this period no longer tried to hide it, but to highlight an openwork seam. Openwork seam - one of the hallmarks of Ukrainian embroidery, although it has different color versions, depending on the area.

Embroidery in each region of Ukraine has distinctive features. So, in Transcarpathia embroidery done in so-called "scribble motives". However, the predominant technique of "zavolikannya" patterned cut and sew. The most common combination of colors is red and black with the dominance of one of them. Nevertheless, widespread have other color combinations. Also stands alone Hutsul embroidery school. In Poltava embroidery is done with a cross, confusing cross, chain, double twig, openwork, clove and other things. Patterns are applied separate stitches or a combination thereof. The most common color in Poltava embroidery - white, at least - red and very rarely gray. The very same pattern is almost always outlined in color or black threads. In contrast to the previous schools of embroidery, dominated by geometric shapes, in Kiev schools dominated floral design. Next to the square and a diamond, you can behold the grapes, hops, spruce and other plants. Basic colors are red or bright pink. Less common are yellow and blue shapes. Kiev masters use the technique of embroidery stitch, cross or shrug.

Folk embroidery supported by the Communist Party (you must be remember Nikita Khrushchev in Ukrainian shirt). In 1919 it was issued a decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee "On measures to promote domestic industry", aimed at the preservation of folk art and its multiplication. During the May Day "exhibition of contemporary peasant art" in Kiev in the same year, Ukrainian embroidery has firmly taken its place in Soviet art, and the best exhibits were purchased for the largest museums in the USSR. In 1927, the cottage industry begun to supply the Soviet developments: machines and new tools to improve the quality of the fabric, to diversify the palette and increase production. In the 30's of last century folk embroidery stepped into the new century - the work of artists exhibited at major exhibitions not only Kiev and Moscow and Leningrad. After these shows experimental workshop in Kiev began to apply traditional ornaments on clothing urban residents - on dresses, shirts, blouses, hats. In addition, the beginning of Ukrainian embroidery applied to panels and carpets.

Unfortunately, during the Second World War proved fatal to many works of art - the fascist Nazi invaders took out the museum exhibits and private collections not only an attack on the land of their enemies, but also at the retreat. That did not have time to take out or could not - destroyed by fire, shooting, exploding along with the buildings. Such a fate is not over, and many instances of Ukrainian fine arts, including embroidery. However, two years after the war, was established in Lviv, Ukraine's first State Institute of Applied and Decorative Arts, which helped to revive the art of Ukrainian embroidery. Interestingly, in the middle of the last century in the Ukraine, a completely new kind of art - artists created portraits and landscapes are no longer with paint, but with the help of a cloth. Embroidered portraits have become an integral part of Ukrainian culture.



Despite all the hardships that have held sway in Ukraine for centuries, one of the types of embroidery "protect" the people especially vigorously - it is rushnyk. The Ukrainians decorate their homes with special ornament embroidered towels (rushnyks) and use them in various ceremonies (wedding, funeral, meeting dear guests, etc.). Many of these rituals are also from pagan times: with rushnyks came to the women in labor; covered freshly baked bread; in more recent times, rushnyks have also become a way of beautifying the icons. Since rushnyk was a symbol of the beginning or end of some important cases, it is always based on the stele house under construction; on the long rushnyks lowered the coffin into the ground; with an embroidered towel, bread and salt starting time of the harvest. Interestingly, the word "rushnyk" is a common image of embroidered towels. However, depending on the features they had different names: utirach is for wiping hands and face; stirok is for the dishes and the table; iskupitel was decorated icons; by the shoulder rushnyk linked matchmakers (local wedding custom); marriage and funeral rushnyks used for weddings and funerals. Like the rest of the embroidery pattern on them varies from region to region: we know Bukovina, Galicia, Hutsul, Kyiv, Podillia and Polissia rushnyks.

To the 70 years of the last century, when the well-being of the Soviet people began to grow, they, like the burghers of some 100 years ago, began to feel the need to satisfy the cultural hunger. The Soviet people began to take the eye to national works of art, and Ukraine is not an exception. Citizens began to buy embroidered panels, carpets, rushnyki, shirts, etc., and in 1975 the Central Committee of the CPSU adopted a resolution "On traditional arts and crafts," which called encouraged craftsmen and provide the required assistance. In 1991, after independence, the number of private schools embroidery and interest in the national creativity has increased many times, and today is a riot of colors and patterns for yourself can open each - not only at trade shows and folk fairs, but also in stores.
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