Painted Easter Eggs

In time, this practice acquired religious connotations, with the Christians. Nowadays the eggs are adorned, at Easter time – they are placed in the “basket” blessed in church during the service of resurrection Night.

In Romania, eggs are painted throughout Moldavia, in Harghita, Sibiu, Valcea and Oboga (Oltenia), The Banat, but nowhere else in the world does this pursuit reach the high standard of craftsmanship achieved in the Bucovina (Suceava county). Here there are some ethnographic centers, with specific centers, with specific local touches, in the area of Radauti (Radauti, Ulma), in the Country of the Dornas (Poiana Stampei, Iacobeni) and in the area of Campulung Moldovenesc (Paltinu, Pojorata, Fundu Moldovei, Izvoarele Sucevei, Paltinoasa, Moldova-Sulita).

When contemplating a painted Easter egg, it conveys a sense of joy, amazement, piety, acquiescence, because in terms of its ornamentation it actually operates with symbols (the Sun, the Moon, the cross a.s.o.), with models taken from nature (plants, animals, house-hold objects) as well as with patterns from folk textures, with their entire repertory of sacred signs. In an essay from 1937, by Artur Gorovei, mention is made of the fact that the symbolic register of the Bukovina encompasses 291 signs.

The technique of painting eggs is complex. First, the eggs are emptied and plugged up with wax. Then the pattern is drawn with wax, by making use of the “chisita” , also called “stylus” (some sort of a Rotring) recorded around 1700, by Italian Del Chiaro, the secretary of ruling prince Constantin Brancoveanu. Subsequently the eggs are immersed in dye and finally the wax is removed by heating. Of more recent date is the method by which coloured natural wax is being used, which remains on the egg, in relief. In certain areas, the pattern is outlined with a china ink nib while the spaces are filled in with dye with a “felesteu” (a small beech wood stick with a cotton- wool pad). There are likewise eggs decorated with beads (made of stone with the old models, with glass beads nowadays) driven into the wax layer with a tiny stick.

In general, it is a women who paint the Easter eggs. They carry out all the household chores, they work out in the fields but in spite of all this, manage to find the necessary time for this highly sophisticated pursuit, turned into a real passion. They paint without any model, improvising dozens of patterns each day,one after another and never one identical with another. Such precious artifacts cannot be achieved by all women. As it is the case with any artist, only those with an innate talent are able to achieve genuine craftsmanship. Egg paintresses such as Anita Zinici from Izvoarele Sucevei, Aurica Aneci, Filotica Drajmici from Paltinu. The present work intends to present several schools from the Bukovina which are undoubtedly worthy of admiration.