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Case-lesson "Embroidery as a symbol of Ukraine"
Case-lesson "Embroidery as a symbol of Ukraine"

Category: Art

The level (grade): 5+

Subject: The art of embroidery

Objective: Obtain knowledge of embroidery, as a phenomenon of Ukrainian folk art

What information is waiting for me here?

  • How to create embroidery?
  • What was the first Ukrainian embroidery?
  • How to «read» embroidery?
  • What fundamental and practical knowledge will be useful to me?
  • Why is embroidery a guardian?
6 scans of the subjects, phenomena and practices:

«My mom embroidered shirt, as if fate led cross» ... Is it possible to "embroider" the fate? Why it was believed, that embroidery is talisman and why modern Ukraine is increasingly turns to traditional embroidery? Is it only because it is an ancient art that suddenly become fashionable global trend?

Why “if fate led cross”? What other stitches and seams can be characteristic of Ukrainian embroidery?


Let's try to decipher the characters of ancient embroidery to find answers to these today’s questions.


There are a lot of embroidery technologies. Generally, it is believed that there are 250 stitches of Ukrainian embroidery, and they performed 20 techniques.

For example, "wreathing" (ie embroidery on textile with pull strings) is a technique which is based on over thirty separate joints - wreaths.

And every master may add something “own”. This is besides the fact that every region of Ukraine has its own peculiar technique! And even universal, "general" joints have got their "local" flavor. Some techniques are gradually separated in their own "kind."



What other kinds of stitches and seams do exist in traditional embroidery?


Counting seams is also a separate group. This not only cross that first comes to mind. Examples:


And how do we choose a color? Maybe you have seen white embroidery on white, and black, black and red, and color. First, the person's age plays an important role. The older the person is the less colors are used to him.


In some regions of Ukraine embroidery technology is combined with beads. This technology of crafts "went" on the podium and was used in the decoration of modern designer clothes.


Besides the handmade, traditional, folk even mystical embroidery, there is machine embroidery. What is the technology used for it? Designer creates an embroidery picture. Specialist, who works with special Embroidery Machine, carries a picture to clear for the machine form - embroidery scheme - and program the machine. And then, as they say, "trick." Machine embroidery cloth or parts with high speed and in large quantities:

The choice of manual or machine embroidery is the choice of everyone which depends on the circumstances and purpose vessels that were decorated by it.


What kinds of embroidery have you seen? What seams and stitches do you learned? Which ones can you do? What colors are used in them? Think about how to decipher the symbolism of the color?

Arts / Traditions

Traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirt can be "read" as a book. First, each embroidery element has symbolic load has its value.

Octagonal star was the symbol of the sun (sometimes it was used a flower with eight petals). The water was like a spiral or folded snake. These two characters traditional embroidery applied to children as guardian.

But the swastika (svarga) and crosses symbolized the movement of the sun, good and could protect from the "evil spells". Blue diamond or blue with dot was a symbol of fertility.

Floral motifs of embroidered shirts have the following meanings: viburnum - kind of immortality, oak - force (depicted on the men’s shirts), grapes - happy family life, poppy - protection from evil, hop - the youth.

Zoomorphic patterns (like animals) were also used, often in combination with plant.

But embroidered shirt can be read literally! Each element of the pattern can answer individual letters of the alphabet:


The numbers also have their embroidered equivalents:


Days of the week and time of year:


How does element become letter or number on ornament? Using the following method:


In addition, there is an embroidered book, the only one in the world! Using techniques feather stitch on the material, which is known as "wild flax", masters recreated eight texts (no abbreviations!) of TG Shevchenko Poetry: "My thoughts," "Perebendya", "Kateryna", "Poplar", "Idea" ( "Why do I need black eyebrows"), "To Osnovyanenko", "Ivan Pidkova," "Night of Taras".

Embroidered works are in the original language, all copyright signs were absolutely saved. It was developed a special font, identical to "Kobzar" middle of the XIX century for Embroidery text. There is a traditional Ukrainian ornament on every page.


Embroidered book can be seen at the Museum of Books and Printing in Kiev, Taras Shevchenko Museum, and exhibition halls of the Rivne regional museum.


Using the "tips" of material sweep, try to make embroidery with your name or date of birth.


At the heart of Ukrainian embroidery often is symmetrical geometric pattern - ornament. Therefore the description of embroidery, a set of geometric shapes, allows making mathematical modeling of embroidery. It is very important to transfer to the editor understandable for embroidery machines.

Cross is an ancient symbol that means tree of life and life in general. And in terms of mathematics, it is the two lines that intersect. It is important crossing angle and length of the lines for it.

And other parameters are important for such widespread element as circle.


Triangle is a common item that may have a different "look" depending on ornament:


Thus, for calculating the ornament can be used the triangles characteristics - geometrical shapes.

Another well-known element that has symmetry is rhomb:


Square is common in traditional embroidery as often as rhomb:


But there are also exotic elements of embroidery. For example, meander:


Using mathematical description of these figures, Ukrainian embroidery’s geometric ornament can be "programmed". And knowing the value of each item it can be also filled with symbolism, do a traditional talisman and wishes of happiness, life, love, prosperity, fertility...


Create own geometric pattern using the described geometric shapes. You can use only a fraction of them. Tell about the importance they have.


Every region of Ukraine has its own "favorite" patterns of embroidery and cut. Therefore, looking at the traditional embroidery, you can tell region or locality of its owner.

Similarly, the colors of embroidery are traditional for each area. There are certain stereotypes and legends in this area. Poltava embroidered shirts mostly are with white thread, much less red or gray. Shirt-fronts in white shirts were decorated in old-style white pattern that was made stitch. Pattern stood black or colored stripes.

In Kharkiv shirts have much in common with forms of embroidery that are in central Ukraine. But it is quite peculiar and original polychromatic designs that are created by cross. Aforementioned embroidered ornaments mainly are made by coarse thread, so that patterns give the impression of relief.


Polesie embroideries have clear and simple compositions. Rhomb-shaped geometric lined are repeated several times. Embroidery has clear graphics, basically is a red thread on a linen cloth with white-gray background.

But Volyn embroidery has been famous for their originality. The composition is simple, patterns are geometric and distinct. Embroideries northern regions of Volyn delight its elegance and simplicity at the same time; they are dominated by floral motifs.


Chernihiv is famous for white embroidery. Geometric or floral designs are embroidered with white thread, sometimes with red and black. Embroidery is made by very small stitches, which are also characteristic of Chernigov shirts.

So what is it, map Ukraine traditional embroidery? There is an example:



Which of these patterns have you met? Where?

There is a related national record: master from Mykolayiv, Olga made an embroidered map of our country the size of 197 to 152 cm!


There is also a beaded map.

History / Mythology / Music

History of Ukrainian folk embroidery has its roots in the distant ages. Archaeological sites and expression chroniclers and travelers justify that embroidery as an art form, there is of Tripoli culture.


According to Herodotus, embroidery elements were also decorated Scythians clothes.

Among the earliest finds of Fine Arts there are things that are dated VI century, found in the Cherkassy region near the village Martynivka. Among them there are statues of ancient inhabitants - men dressed in long, wide patterned shirt with embroidery on chest level. These same clothes 100 years ago were of Ukrainian peasantry.


According to many travelers testimonies Slavs of Kievan Rus had embroidered clothes and after the tenth century too (one of the best examples - Ipatiev chronicle of 1252, which states that the Galician Prince Daniel during a meeting of high wore a sheathed brass casing).

Embroidery was considered one of the most respected occupations: in the eleventh century in Kievan Rus were first embroidery school, organized by the sister of Vladimir Monomakh - Ganka (in some sources, its name sounds like Anna, Janka) where girls learned to embroider gold and silver.


Foreign travelers XVI-XIX centuries also mention about Ukrainian embroidered. Embroidered with Cossack times of 17-18 centuries were preserved.

In the 16-18 centuries embroidery centers were Kachanivka in Chernihiv, Kyiv region Hryhorivka, Velyka Burimka in Cherkasy and others. Interestingly, pagan embroidery is still found on the icons of XV centuries and later.

Silver plaques, found in Cherkasy, with figures of men who date back to the V century., showed identity not only clothes, but Embroidery Ukrainian national costume XVIII-XIX centuries.

Beadwork and white silk thin transparent tissue, which adorned the clothing, and household items became popular since the nineteenth century. Ribbon embroidery and beads today experiencing a renaissance and is one of the most fashionable and popular movements in needlework. The peculiarity of this embroidery technique is that it adds depth to the picture. After reviewing the different types of stitches, you can create your own hands unusually beautiful things and add finished products unique identity.

Sometimes embroidery is supplemented by traditional ribbons. Tapes history also has several centuries. The first fame decorative ribbon was received in France in the XIV century, when machines to manufacture silk ribbons were brought in the city of Lyon. They were used to adorn almost all toiletries, jackets, dresses, outerwear and even underwear. This art came from France in Ukraine, complementing traditional technology. And this technique is also going through a "rebirth":

The interesting history associated with Borshchiv embroidery. Borshchiv embroidery is a shirt embroidered with black thread, which has become a kind of calling card of the rigion.


According to the ancient legend, the dominant black embroidery linked to specific tragic events in history. In XV-XVII century Borshchiv land was a constant subject of Turkish and Tatar attacks. The enemies ruthlessly devastated and looted villages, taken captive population. After one of these attacks in several villages all the men were killed. While girls and women mourning their bitter fate for generations vowed to wear mourning for the dead loved and married in shirts embroidered with black thread.

In many areas guys wore two shirts during the wedding. "My shirt is close to my body" - because under that which was embroidered by bride, was another, embroidered by mother. Some regions used wedding dress three times – during a wedding, a week after the wedding in the church and on his deathbed.

Embroidery is not only part of the visual arts since ancient times. Embroidery is praised in songs.

Ukrainian song is a part of the spiritual life of the people. It is continually with life in joy and in sorrow, step by step sent the man from childhood to old age. Song of the shirt is not an exception.


Where (art) have you seen mention about embroidery?


Ukrainian embroidery, traditional embroidery, nowadays becomes a trend. Although the first mods that combines embroidery with everyday clothes became Ivan Franko. He wore it under his jacket. In this look he was depicted on the banknote:


American version of Vogue editors considered embroidery as fashionable shirt. Experts of one of the most respected publications reached this view because of the appearance of embroidery once in several collections. Fashion Vita Kin applied Ukrainian ornaments to adorn modern things.


Also zhupan and embroidery collection was shown at fashion week in Paris from Valentino:


Recently, the Ukrainians have got a new trend – autoembroidery. Motorists decorate their car by special pasties. Manufacturers say that orders for autoembroidery coming from other countries: Germany, Australia, New Zealand!


Embroidered-tattoo are becoming popular among young people


Pets are dressed in embroidered:


Flowerbeds and entire cities are dressed in embroidered




Where have you met motives inherent in traditional embroidered shirt?

Lesson summary



Lesson summary




As a result of Case Knowledge Hypermarket can add the following findings of students:



What are the 3 most significant sites help getting information?





To help the student and coach:




Where to take information to the Case:















Locations of the lesson:

Case lesson takes place in the classroom. Carrying classes at the museum, park, library...




Teams of boys and girls.


The score of the competition between teams was

Targets for them:

  1.     Think, from what areas may be the samples of embroidery
  2. Which team first "writes" date right in the form of embroidery pattern






Spend a mini research: Find information that embroidery techniques and embroidery colors inherent in your area.

You can make this like a text, accompanied by his illustrations.


Duration of Case:

90 minutes(double lesson). 


Ability to circuit classes with student-double for:



The produced results and competence:

Знання про історію формування та розвиток української традиційної вишивки.

Знання про способи та техніки вишивки, її геометрію, символізм та сучасні особливості.

Знання про «географію» вишивки.


Knowledge of the formation and development of traditional Ukrainian embroidery history.

Knowledge of methods and techniques of embroidery, its geometry, symbolism and modern

Knowledge about the "geography" of embroidery.



Embroidery, counting stitches, pattern, geometric pattern, zoomorphic drawing,



Hrabovska Larisa L.


Took part in case apgrade:



The End

«Знання завжди повинні бути свіжими!»

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