History of the Ukrainian embroideryHISTROV
History of the Ukrainian embroidery
Vyshyvanka as a subject of festive and everyday closet of modern Ukrainians – is nothing other than the traditional European clothing of the pre-Christian period of Kievan Rus. Elements of embroidery in the form of red and black ornaments on white fabrics were seen even on shirts used in the days of the legendary Land of Ants, before the expansion of the Vikings.
From time immemorial, representatives of Slavic nations, including Ukrainians, were sure to have embroidered vestments. In those days it was a common attribute – a garment in which to care for livestock, till the land and perform other household chores. The Muscovites, who were not Slavs, never had such clothing.
Each vyshyvanka was different from the others by its pattern. Such ornaments kept the genetic code of Ukrainians, which was passed from family to family by inheritance. This is what enabled our ancestors to bring authentic information to their descendants. Each region of Ukraine has its own code, its own symbols. Ornaments served as amulets, like a prayer, protecting against evil forces, indicating belonging to a certain family, the area of residence.
Each pattern was chosen for a reason. Very often on old vyshyvankas you can see the image of classical runes, used for protection in the days of paganism. After the advent of Christianity in Northern Europe, the Latin alphabet was used instead of runes. This led to a gradual transformation of runic patterns into a slightly different format. Researchers of embroidery have found more than 5000 samples of various inscriptions using runes, and most of them were found in Ukraine in the Dnieper region.
Embroidery was present on almost all woven items of household – they were decorated with towels, tablecloths, women’s shirts, shawls, scarves, and more.. It was the bride’s duty to embroider a shirt for her bridegroom, as well as the towels she knitted for the matchmakers during the matchmaking ceremony. Some of these traditions in a slightly modified format have survived in Ukraine to this day.
To establish the exact date of the appearance of the Ukrainian vyshyvanka was quite difficult. Some scholars argue that this tradition came in the time of the Scythians and Sarmatians from the territory of Iran. The tribes living then in the Black Sea region and Eastern Ukraine played a significant role in the formation of the ethnogenesis of the Ants. According to other scientists, embroidery was brought to Ukraine by the Vikings after the arrival of the Vikings.
Researchers also note that some of the patterns on ancient Ukrainian embroideries externally similar to the drawings of the Trypilian civilization. Embroidered shirts can also be found in Herodotus. And during excavations near Cherkassy silver figurines of 400-500 A.D. were found. in embroidered shirts, on which the patterns are very reminiscent of modern ornaments.
In addition, Gilbert de Lanois, an Italian traveler who was in Ukraine in the 15th century, noted in his notes traditional Ukrainian clothes with embroidery.
Traditions and modernity of embroidery
To date, embroidery has become extremely popular not only in Ukraine but also around the world. Our ethnic motifs are used in our collections by Dolce, Gabbana Gucci, Valentino. As in the old days, an embroidered shirt is used both on weekdays and on holidays. It is worn by both adults and children. And the explanation for this phenomenon can be very simple. In addition to the fact that embroidery is beautiful, dignified, diverse and original, it is also an eternal symbol of the Ukrainian people. A people who have not forgotten their history, and who carry their freedom through the ages.