Friday, 2 October 2015

Embroidery of Belarus: ritual towels

Hand-embroidered rirual towel rushnik from Belarus
Hand-embroidered ritual towel from Podneprovie region


These amazingly beautiful, hand-embroidered ritual towels are from Belarus. They are called rushnik and all the examples in this post are from the collections of different museums of Belarus and date from the 19th century. Each region of the country has its own distinctive designs and patterns of embroidery with hidden meaning and symbolism. The most popular motifs were flowers, plants, birds and geometrical. Such towels were not for everyday use of course, but for wedding or funeral ceremonies and for decoration of the place of honour (where the icon was placed) in the house. The majority of rushniks are embroidered with red threads. The very word "red" means "beautiful" and "splendid" and the colour itself symbolizes life, sun, fertility and health. It was believed that a rushnyk with red embroidery possesses magic powers that can bring happiness, prosperity and health to a person and his/her family.
 Perhaps one of my favourite are the towels from Podneprovie region


Hand-embroidered ritual towel rushnik from Belarus

Hand embroidered ritual towel rushnik from Belarus

Traditional embroidery of Belarus

Traditional embroidery of Belarus

Ritaul towel from Belarus embroidered in traditional style

Hand embroidered towels from Belarus

Ritual towels rushniki from Belarus

Hand embroidered towels from Belarus

Ritual towels from Belarus decorated with intricate embroidery
And these are towels from Poozerie region. 

Ritual towel from Belarus decorated with intricate embroidery

Ritual towel from Belarus decorated with embroidery and crochet
Here is an example of embroidery from Ponemanne region

Hand embroidered ritual towels from Belarus
This towel is from Central region

Hand embroidered towels from Belarus
A few examples of towels from Eastern Polesse region

Traditional ritual towels from Belarus

Hand embroidered towels from Belarus
And finally, towels from Western Polesse

Hand embroidered towels rushniki from Belarus

Hand embroidered towel from Belarus

Hand embroidered towels from Belarus
 I hope you enjoyed these hand embroidered masterpieces and perhaps some of them have given you some ideas for your own embroidery projects.

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