Lower Level installation through 17 January 2024
Ukrainian folk art is filled with mysterious symbols that for generations have been applied to various items, imbuing them with magical and protective powers. People believed that these objects protected them from evil. They brought and preserved good luck, ensured prosperity, and helped fulfill wishes, hopes, and desires. The symbols were applied to everyday items made of various materials – textiles, leather, wood, metal, clay, eggs, and even bread – using techniques such as carving, embossing, painting, weaving, embroidering, and baking. Over time, the meaning of these symbols was forgotten, but they gradually evolved into elaborate ornamental designs that serve as a vivid attestation of the creative ingenuity of the Ukrainian people. Among these items are the ubiquitous pysanka (Easter egg) and an array of embroidered items – ritual cloths (rushnyky), men’s and women’s shirts, and other items of apparel – with their wealth of ornamental designs from various regions of Ukraine.