An exhibit of the rushnyk (ritual embroidered towel) of Cherkasy unity has opened at the Cherkasy Oblast Local History Museum. It is a thirty-meter-long piece of homespun cloth, on which every district and its cities have embroidered a fragment of its traditional rushnyk. A lot of embroideries depict different varieties of the “tree of life.” Besides, you can find here the unique Okhmativ application embroidery, ornamentation of Princess Yashvil’s embroiderers, the colorful Brocard style, the Podillia “broken wood,” and even some “geometric” inclusions. According to Viktoria Lytovka, in charge of the museum’s ethnography section, dozens of techniques could be applied when one rushnyk was being made.
It took a year to embroider the rushnyk of unity. The most difficult job was to find some authentic rushnyks typical of all places in the Cherkasy region. For this purpose, experts not only profoundly studied for the first time and systemized over 8,000 items at the local history museum, but also researched the collections of the Ukrainian Center of Folk Culture (Ivan Honchar Museum) and the Museum of Ukrainian Folk Architecture and Life in Pyrohiv.
In addition, to find the lost traditional rushnyks of Cherkasy oblast, Ms. Lytovka and Olha Martynova, head of the regional branch of the National League of Folk Art Masters of Ukraine, studied the collections of many other museums and embroiderers.
What played a great role in carrying out the project was one of the unpublished volumes of Ivan Honchar’s Ukraine and Ukrainians about Cherkasy regional traditions. Moreover, as Ms. Lytovka told The Day, the creation of the rushnyk of Cherkasy unity helped implement the project of publishing the fourth, Cherkasy-based, volume of the abovementioned book. The initiative of Lytovka and Martynova found response in the Brama Ukrainy publishing house which has filed a request to the oblast publishing commission. The oblast budget has made the necessary funds available, and the fourth out of 18 Ivan Honchar’s books is expected to come out shortly.
“We have created a rushnyk of Cherkasy unity. We managed to unite the oblast. This was something extraordinary. This rushnyk spiritually rallies together the people of various regions. It is important now to rally the entire Ukraine together,” Viktoria Lytovka says.