What is pysanka?
Pysanka is an Easter egg decorated using a wax resist (aka batik) method. The word pysanka comes from the verb pysaty, "to write", as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax.
Pysanka is often taken to mean any type of decorated egg, but it specifically refers to an egg created by the written-wax batik method and utilizing traditional folk motifs and designs. Several other types of decorated eggs are seen in Ukrainian tradition, and these vary throughout the regions of Ukraine.
• Krashanky –from krasyty (красити), "to decorate"– are boiled eggs dyed a single color (with vegetable dyes), and are blessed and eaten at Easter.
• Pysanky –from pysaty (писати), "to write"– are raw eggs created with the wax-resist method (batik). The designs are "written" in hot wax with a stylus or a pin-head. Wooden eggs and beaded eggs are often referred to as "pysanky" because they mimic the decorative style of pysanky in a different medium.
• Krapanky –from krapka (крапка), "a dot"– are raw eggs decorated using the wax-resist method, but with only dots as ornamentation (no symbols or other drawings). They are traditionally created by dripping molten wax from a beeswax candle onto an egg.
• Dryapanky –from dryapaty (дряпати), "to scratch"– are created by scratching the surface of a dyed egg to reveal the white shell below.
• Malyovanky –from malyuvaty (малювати), "to paint"– are created by painting a design with a brush using oil or water color paints. It is sometimes used to refer to coloring (e.g. with a marker) on an egg.
• Nakleyanky –from kleyaty (клеяти), "to glue on"– are created by glueing objects to the surface of an egg.
• Travlenky –from travlenya (травлення), “etching” – are created by waxing eggs and then etching away the unwaxed areas. This is not a traditional Ukraine practice, but has become popularized recently.
• Biserky –from biser (бісер), "beads"– are created by coating an egg with beeswax, and then embedding beads into the wax to create geometric designs.
• Lystovky –from lystya (листя), "leaves"– are created by dyeing an egg to which small leaves have been attached.