Thursday, January 24, 2019

Costume and Embroidery of the village of Yaseniv-Pil'nyi - Ясенів-Пільний, Horodenka district, Pokuttia, Ukraine

Hello all, 
  Today I will continue to talk about the costume of Pokuttia, focusing again on one village, Jaseniw-Pil'nyj. This lies near Serafyntsi, which also has its own distinct costume. 

Both lie southeast of the town of Horodenka, quite close to the border with Bukovyna, which coincides, more or less with Cherniwtsi Oblast. 

Here is Ivano Frankiwsk Oblast within Ukraine.

Here is Horodenka district within the Oblast.

Here is Yaseniv-Pil'nyi within Horodenka district. Serafyntsi is shown but not labelled, just to the northeast.

We are lucky that someone in the village took and saved a number of photographs early in the 20th century. The image above is a wedding photo of Anna Tychyns'ka and Stepan Bodnaruk. The costume resembles that of the rest of Horodenka district with the exception of the womens' vest. Similar vests are worn in Polissia, parts of Volyn' and Halychyna, and even by some Boikos and Lemkos, but by no other village near Jaseniw-Pil'nyj. 

The base garment is the chemise, with embroidery on the shoulder piece, sleeves, cuffs, and sometimes around the collar and front opening. The embroidery is usually of one of two kinds, curly stitch or cross stitch. The curly stitch designs use Holbein or back stitch with a heavy thread causing the design to be made up more of texture than outline. 
Here is one example, called sleeve with circles. 

This is always done in some shade of red, usually a maroon. You can see the three part canon which is typical for the whole Podillia - Pokuttia - Bukovyna - Moldavia region. Sometimes it is done in a brighter shade of red. 

Here is the same design done in narrow thread so that the stitching is visible. They do not wear it this way, Iryna Svyontek did this just to show how it is made. Click to enlarge.

Here is another design from this village, called winged sleeves. Here the three part canon is even clearer.

A third design is called sleeves with pasochky.

This woman has decided to do hers in black, to reflect her age.

Another design called sleeve with flies.

Here is a famous photograph showing a bride with two bridesmaids. if you look carefully, you will see that each is wearing a chemise with one of the above designs. From left to right, 'wings', 'circles' and 'flies'.

Cross stitch designs are also used in this village. These are probably newer, and often did not have embroidery on the sleeves, but only on the shoulder and cuffs. Here are some of them.

Traditionally, a wraparound overskirt 'obhortka' was worn, the corners tucked into the sash, and a vertically pleated apron worn in front. This was replaced later on, at least for less formal attire with a skirt and gathered apron as you can see here above.

A multiplicity of gerdans [beaded necklaces] were worn, both around the neck and on the head, as well as other jewelry. Brides wore complex crowns with hanging ribbons, and married women wore kerchiefs which replaced the earlier namitky.

The unique vests are cut straight, trimmed with ribbon, and are usually a plain blue, red or black, although sometimes they were made with patterned material, as we see here worn by this bride in 1945

In the early 20th cent. the men abandoned their traditional attire for jodphurs, vests and suits, likely under the influence of Austrian Army dress, but still wore embroidered shirts for festive occasions, as Ukrainian men do to this day.

Here are a few older photographs from this village, likely from the turn of the 20th cent.. These show the older men's outfits, and seem to indicate that the distinctive vest was adopted later, likely in the 1920's or 30's.

 Just a few more images from this village.

 Thank you for reading, I hope that you have found this to be interesting and informative. Try your hand at some of these embroidery designs.

Roman K.


Source Material:
Iryna Svyontek, 'Pokuts'ki Vyshywky Prykarpattia', L'viw, 2013
V. Bilozub et al. 'Urajins'ke Narodne Mystetsvo - Vbrannia' [Ukrainian Folk Art - Clothing] Kyjiw, [Kiev] 1961


  1. Thank you very much for your efforts Roman . This is such a unique and rare information.

  2. this post is amazing. i have ancestors from this village. its so cool to know that this is their traditional attire.