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Easter Egg Coloring History - The history of Easter egg coloring

Intricate Easter egg designs date back centuries

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Easter Goodies

© 2011 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
The decoration of Easter eggs to further enhance their value became an art form centuries ago and continues today. Dyes made from vegetables, edible flowers, fruits, coffee, tea, leaves, bark, and roots were used to tint the eggs. Lovely designs were created by wrapping the eggs in ferns before tinting. The art progressed, with western Europeans becoming expert at creating intricate patterns in vibrant colors on the small eggs.

Always be certain you use food-safe dyes when coloring eggs that will be eaten. Here are explanations of some of the many types of decorated eggs:

•  Etched:  Traced back to Macedonia, this process involves dying the egg, applying a layer of wax in a design, then bleaching off the color leaving only the wax-covered areas with color.

•  Krashanky:  The Ukrainian word means color,  and these eggs are dyed a solid, brilliant color, often red to symbolize the blood shed by Christ on the cross.

•  Pysanky:  The term comes from the word pysaty,  meaning to write,  and this describes how the egg is decorated. Intricate designs are drawn in wax on the eggs, a process closely related to batik. The eggs are then dyed many colors. Ukrainian artisans are famous for their pysanky.

•  Fabergé:  Probably some of the most famous and most expensive Easter eggs known are those created by Russian jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé in the 1800's. The eggs were made of gold, silver and jewels and most opened up to reveal exquisite tiny figures of people, animals, plants or buildings. A total of 57 eggs were made. These are obviously museum artifacts of high value.

•  Binsegraas:  The Pennsylvania Dutch traditionally wrapped the pith of the binsegraas, a type of rush, in coils which were glued to eggs. Then interestingly-shaped scraps of calico cloth were pasted on the egg. The Polish use colorful rug yarn formed into elaborately-designed coils, although they, too, originally used rushes.

•  Jeweled:  Designs are created by gluing any manner of sequins, beads, flowers, etc., onto blown eggs.

•  Cut-Out or Carved:  Blown eggs are used also for these creations where a portion of the shell is cut away. The exterior is decorated, and the inside filled with a little scene to be viewed through the cut-out section. These can be exquisitely elaborate.

•  Calico or Madras:  Eggs were wrapped in calico or madras cloth and then boiled. The water released the dyes from the cloth and transferred to the egg. Since most modern cloth is colorfast, these are rarely made nowadays. This type of egg is not to be eaten, due to the danger of the dyes.

More About Easter and Easter Recipes:

Top 10 Ways to Use Hard-Boiled Eggs
More Hard-Boiled Egg Recipes
How to Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs
Traditional Easter Foods History
Easter Egg Coloring History
Easter Egg History
Easter Foods
Easter Eggs Photo © 2011 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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