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Pisanica (an Easter Egg) from Adlešiči

15. 8. 2014

Specifications

Keywords

Sep

Art Objects - decorative, Easter

Geographical area

Sep

Slovenia

The best eggs for decorating should be smooth so the colour sticks evenly. First, the eggs are blown out: piercing the shell on both ends and blowing out from one of either hole, so the contents spill out.

The accessory used for decorating eggs is a home-made pisač: it has a metallic funnel on one side in which bits of bee wax are put, and on the other side, a wooden board or a wooden handhold with which one holds it over a candle flame so the wax melts and drips from the hole on the pointed end. The melted wax is then used for drawing on the egg. The craft of drawing on eggs is in getting a sense of the viscosity of the wax. The wax drawn onto the egg shell dries immediately and must also be distanced enough from the flame of the candle in order for it not to melt again. When the egg has the desired amount of white patterns, it is dipped into a bowl of cold (not to harm the wax patterns on the egg) water, in which a fair amount of red crepe paper has been soaking. As the egg colours in a nice red, it is taken out of the water and dabbed dry with a tissue. Where wax is applied the colour does not stick, which makes the Easter egg two-coloured. In order to get a three-coloured Easter egg another layer of wax patterns needs to be applied. After the egg has been drawn on with new and afterwards red patterns, it is ready for cooking in black colours for textile products. It needs to be dipped into cold water and heated until the water is boiling (when boiling the wax melts off, but the drawn lines will remain). The egg is then taken out with a spoon and wiped carefully with a soft, dry cloth immediately. Nowadays, a red cotton string is added through the hole (with a home-made needle) of a well dried Easter egg: one hole is covered with a tassel, and the other has a mesh about 7 cm in length so the Easter egg can hang on rope if the recipient wishes so.
The Adelešičke Easter eggs are decorated with straight, undulating and zigzag lines, crosses, spirals, triangles, circles, dots, hearts, dotted triangular or square shaped boxes. In some cases, we can also see various flower twigs and blossoms (lilies of the valley), motifs of various ferns, spruce twigs, steljice, which is a stylised branch of sweet roots (Polypodium vulgare). Religious inscriptions meant for celebrating Easter are also found.
 
Locality Bela krajina (White Carniola), Adlešiči
Southeastern part of Slovenia
Time All year round; originally only Easter time
History (cyclicality) Since the 19th century
Organizer Nada Cvitkovič
Realisation team Nada Cvitkovič and her daughter
Target group Local people, tourists, ethno-shops around Slovenia, exhibitions in museums, galleries, fairs
Traditional culture elements The process of decorating an Easter egg is manual. The style is self-made, ornaments are traditional. An egg is decorated in a very old batik technique.
Ethnographic criterion An Easter egg (pisanica) from Adlešiči is one of the identity symbols of White Carniola. It is also an integrative part of women’s work. There is fear that this old folk tradition would die out; not because the practice is rarely used, but because of the demographic decline in the region. This problem is more complex and connected with economic and political handling of the state.
Environmental criterion An Easter egg (pisanica) from Adlešiči is one of the identity symbols of White Carniola. It is also an integrative part of women’s work. There is fear that this old folk tradition would die out; not because the practice is rarely used, but because of the demographic decline in the region. This problem is more complex and connected with economic and political handling of the state.
Cultural-historical criterion The Easter egg is an old pre-Christian symbol (a source of new life), but it was only in 19th century that the decorated Easter eggs became massive and very heterogeneous all around Slovenia. The batik technique that originates from East Asia, and North Africa is perserved only in White Carniola.
Aesthetic criterion Traditional folk ornaments are primary and organic. Because of their old ornaments and elegance, they could become an element of a representative state-gift.
Ethical criterion Nada Cvitkovič's family is well known by its care and preservation of historical memory and cultural heritage of Adlešiči and its vicinity. No conflicts.
Psychological criterion Making Easter eggs in Adlešiči and its vicinity is a part of women’s work. Women follow the tradition by decorating eggs, which provides them and the entire local group a warm feeling of familiarity and stability

Photos by © Siniša Borovičanin

 

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