The Ukrainian intricate egg decorating technique of pysanky originated around 980 A.D. A pysanka is a brilliantly designed Ukrainian egg adorned with a traditional folk design. Pysanka comes from the word pysaty, meaning "to write," because the designs are not painted on the egg, but written using beeswax. In pysanky each different image and color has specific meanings and the finished pysanky is a symbol of life, happiness and hope, as well as awaking and rebirth. The Easter egg decorating procedure involves applying a multilayered design to the shell of an egg using melted beeswax and a stylus. The process of wax etching is similar to batik, with a stylus being used to apply the melted beeswax to the eggshell. The wax works to seal the dye onto the eggshell and the colors and pattern are exposed when the wax is removed by melting it off when the design is completed. The eggs are dipped into a series of colored-dye baths that progress from lighter to darker shades, and executing the painstakingly-detailed process can take up to 11 hours to complete just one egg.
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