Thursday, August 22, 2013
Vintage Ukrainian Rushnyks with Crochet Trims
This coming Saturday, August 24, Ukraine will celebrate its independence.
For many centuries Ukraine was a part of the Russian Empire. Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, Ukraine was even referred to as Malorossia (“Little Russia”). In the early 20th century when the Russian Empire collapsed, Ukraine struggled to gain its independence, but it wasn’t meant to happen. And only after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine finally became an independent country.
I was born and grew up in Ukraine. And even though I have lived in the USA for over a decade now, my Ukrainian heritage is very important to me. What is more, I want to pass it on to my children. Each year on August 24, we celebrate our Ukrainian heritage and ancestry.
Today I want to show you beautiful Ukrainian rushnyks (handmade towels that are used for ceremonial events or decorating), which I received from my aunt when I left Ukraine.
Isn’t that embroidery gorgeous? The colors faded on the small rushnyk in the middle, but the other two are still quite bright.
Notice the crocheted trims. They shrank with the time and the original snow-white color changed to brownish yellow. And yet I find them very beautiful and special.
I will use these rushnyks to decorate my dining room for the upcoming celebration. Here is a picture that I took a few years ago, when I used one of the rushnyks as a table runner for my Ukrainian tablescape.
When I was a child, I remember my grandparents’ small hut in the Ukrainian countryside decorated with lots of rushnyks. My grandmother hanged rushnyks on the walls over the icons (religious depictions of Jesus Christ, Mary, or Saints) as well as over collages of old photographs. In a huge old chest she had even more rushnyks, embroidered gowns and linens with crocheted trims. I wonder now what ever happened to all those things.