I received a request for information about Rusyn costume and embroidery. There is unfortunately little that I have been able to find, but I am continuing my research. I would strongly encourage anyone who has solid and reliable information to publish it. Ukrainian sources tend to have little to nothing about the Rusyny in Slovakia, and Slovak sources ignore the Rusyn areas completely. In fact, Slovak sources tend to have very little of anything from eastern Slovakia. There are some very good photos online of Rusyn costume, but usually without any information as to the village or district of origin. Some performing groups wear standard Šariš costumes, and some wear outfits which are completely made up.
The Rusyns, or Rusnaks, are an eastern Slavic people which inhabited the Carpathian mountains in northeast Slovakia, southeast Poland and Transcarpathian Ukraine.
The ones in Poland are generally called Lemkos, and were cleansed from their territory by the Polish government after WWII.They, and some of their Polish neighbors were resettled in other parts of Poland, especially the areas in the west from which German inhabitants were removed. The Rusyns in Slovakia and Transcarpathian Ukraine generally remain in their traditional territory, but are subject to some level of assimiliation. There is also a colony in Ruski Krstur in Vojvodina with an especially divergent dialect.
The term Rusyn was originally used to refer to all eastern Slavic peoples in the Lithuanian Commonwealth, as opposed to those which inhabited Moscow's Empire, who were called Muscovites. Today, most have chosen to identify themselves as Belorussians or Ukrainians, although the term Rusyn was commonplace in Halychyna well into the 20th cent. In Latin documents of western Europe, Rusyns were often referred to as 'Ruthenians'; as I understand it, this was a pun on a fictional country from a novel. 'Ruthenian' is not a slavic term at all. The people who continue to use the term Rusyn speak a group of dialects which diverge strongly from those of the other eastern Slavic peoples.
This map shows the areas inhabited by Rusyns in Slovakia, and their former territories in Poland. across the center you see the Poland/Slovakia border, and at right the Ukrainian border.
I will be sharing some information as to the costume and embroidery from the village of Čertižné or Чертіжне, which is found just about in the center of this map. It, and other villages from which I have information are marked with red on this map. [the map will have to be expanded to see that information].
I have only two confirmed images of the costume of this village. The first is a drawing from the village website, the second is a traditional woman's shirt, called oplecko. This one is long sleeved. It seems short sleeves were also worn.
Here are a few stage images which seem to be from this area. This is the Slovak performing group Zeleziar.
I will show an assortment of embroidery designs which were specifically gathered in this village.
The source which i have only shows cross stitch designs. Free form floral satin stitch embroidery is also done in this region. I hope that these will be useful to someone.
I should mention that the diagrams are schematic; do not take the hues shown too literally, the printer had limited choices available. If you want to reproduce these designs, adjust the shades to get the effect that you want.
This first group are taken from household linens: pillowcases, tablecloths, breadbasket covers and wedding towels.
This second group are taken from men's shirts.
These designs are from children's chemises
This one design is from a woman's vest [laibyk or zhivotik]
This last and largest group are taken from women's shirts and chemises.
These last two are obvious Art Nouveaux designs which have been reprised.
Thank you for reading. I hope that you found this interesting, and that you will be able to use these designs in your embroidery.
Rusyn songs sung by the Slovak Group Zeleziar
Feel free to contact me with requests for research. I hope to eventually cover all of Europe and the Former Russian Empire/Soviet Union. I also gratefully accept tips on source materials which i may not have. I also accept commissions to research/design, sew, and/or embroider costumes or other items for groups or individuals.Roman K.
Paul Markovic, 'Vyšivky' , Prešov, 1964