Sunday, November 14, 2010

Embroidery in Ukraine

This friendly young woman was offering exquisite embroidered shirts and other items for sale at the main park in Zaporozhye. The tradition of embroidery in this part of the world goes back to ancient times. Greek historian Herodotus mentioned fine embroidery in the Balkans and Dacia in 513 BC, and the tradition continues strong today. One of the 11th century frescoes in St. Sophia's in Kiev shows a saint wearing an embroidered belt.

This craft is almost entirely the purview of women. The woman above said she and her mother produced these items, and that it is their main work. The usual motifs combine themes with both Christian and pre-Christian themes, and embroidery is used mainly on clothing, towels and items for religious ceremonies. If you see a troupe of Ukrainian folk dancers, they are almost certain to be wearing lots of embroidery. Red seems to be the most popular color.

Quality embroidery like that above is not cheap, but buying it is a good way to support women in this region and contribute to the continuation of a proud cultural tradition. To distinguish quality embroidery from the rest, check the back. There should not be many knots or long threads.


Post a Comment

<< Home