Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Unique Boiko Embroidery of Bolekhiw region, Ukraine


Hello all, 

The above image is the title page of a book which contains a montage of photos, embroidery charts, poems and more of the eastern Boiko region by the town of Bolekhiw. The items are all in one of the local museums and cover the area from the village of Mizhrichchia Міжріччя, along the upper reaches of the Svicha river up to the village of Lolyn Лолин. This is the area upstream from what some call the Zhydachiw costume, about which I have already written an article.

Here is the region on the official map of Boikiwshchyna. 

Neither the town of Bolekhiw nor the village of Mizhrichchia are technically within Boikoland, but regions are very difficult to put hard edges on. 

The photo above, showing a costume from Mizhrichchia, shows what is mostly a very typical East Boiko / Opillia costume with one exception. The wide chain stitch embroidery forming zigzags and spirals. 

I searched through my collection of photos, certain that I had seen this before, and found a few other examples, all from this small region. It is not the only embroidery used here, but this embroidery does not seem to be found outside this area. 

The costume consists of shirt with ustawka, apron made of two fields of cloth sewn together, a skirt of white linen embroidered around the hem and smocked at the waist, sash, kerchief and embroidered bunda [wool vest]. 

Here is a costume from Lolyn from the same book. 

Notice the zigzags and spiral around the edge of the ustawka embroidery [executed on adjoining pieces of cloth, not on the ustawka], and the cuffs. 

Here this Lolyn blouse is paired with a skirt and apron that look like they belong to the lower Svicha River costume, as is typical around Chertizh.  Note that the zigzags on the cuff are also made of merezhka. Both of these shirts show cuffs which are not gathered. 

Here is another costume from somewhere in this region. 

This very fine costume has beautiful embroidery on the skirt, apron, bunda and shirt. 

The cuffs are embroidered with these spirals, and gathered with a strip of cloth a few inches above the cuff, and the edge of the hem seems to be rolled to the outside.

Another exhibit. 

Here the shirt embroidery is not visible, there is fine embroidery on the sheepskin vest, cross stitch embroidery on the skirt, and zigzags on the apron, the edge of the hem seems to be rolled to the outside. 

Another example, this one seems to be in a very old style. It has a linen kerchief embroidered to match. The ustawka on the right side is just visible, and seems only to have a very narrow band of embroidery. It is very disappointing that it is not more visible. There are zigzags embroidered on the cuff, which is gathered like those above. It has a chepets executed in sprang, with an embroidered linen edge. The apron and skirt are both embroidered in zigzags and merezhka.

Here are some shoulder insets, ustawky, done in this technique. In this first shirt, some of the spirals are grouped into cinquefoils. The collars are embroidered in cross stitch, and the open sleeves are embroidered with double spirals. 

In this shirt, the shoulder piece is embroidered with trefoil spirals, The collars with rows of running stitch, and the gathered cuffs with zigzags. 

In this shirt, the shoulder and collars are embroidered with single spirals, zigzags, and small tree motifs. The gathered cuffs are embellished with double running stich and zigzags. 

Here are detailed shots of another skirt and apron executed in double spirals. I do not seem to have a photo of this outfit as a whole. The joining stitch in the center of the apron has not yet been done.

And yet another skirt, this one executed in both spirals and zigzags. Here we can see the back of the embroidery and it is clear that it is executed in chain stitch.

Here is one more image which I have found, in which this embroidery was used on the waistband of a skirt made of home printed cloth. Perhaps it was recycled from another garment. This would be the back of the skirt.

Thank you for reading, I hope that you have found this to be interesting and informative. 

It would be great to see Boikos start using this embroidery again. 

Roman K


1 comment:

  1. You always lift my spirits. Thank you. Charlotte in California