Royal Canadian Mint

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TRADITIONAL UKRAINIAN PYSANKA Easter Colored Egg Shape Folk Art 1 Oz Silver Coin 20$ Canada 2016


First egg-shaped 1 Oz Silver coin issued by the RCM with vibrant colour throughout the elaborate design re-creates the breathtaking hand crafted artistry of a Ukrainian Easter egg. A cultural celebration of a beloved tradition on the 125th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada. The coin’s shape is itself powerfully symbolic as many cultures consider the egg to represent life and rebirth.

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The Pysanka egg
Simply put, it is an Easter egg decorated using a wax resist (aka batik) method. Its name derives from the Ukrainian verb “pysaty,” meaning “to write.”  (“Pysanka” is the singular form; “pysanky” is plural.)
But it is much more than that.  Ukrainians have been decorating eggs, creating these miniature jewels, for countless generations. There is a ritualistic element involved, magical thinking, a calling out to the gods and goddesses for health, fertility, love, and wealth.  There is a yearning for eternity, for the sun and stars, for whatever gods that may be.  
The design motifs on pysanky date back to pre-Christian times–many date to early Slavic cultures, while some harken to the days of the Trypillians, my neolithic ancestors, others to paleolithic times.  While the symbols have remained through the ages, their interpretation has changed, in an act of religious syncretism. A triangle that once spoke of the three elements, earth, fire and air, now celebrates the Christian Holy Trinity.  The cross which depicted the rising sun is now the symbol of the risen Christ.  Sun and star symbols once referred to Dazhboh, the sun god, and now refer to the one Christian God.  And the fish, which spoke of a plentiful catch and a full stomach, now stands in for Christ, the fisher of men. Even so, under this Christian veneer, there still lurk the berehynia and the serpent, the sun and the moon, the old gods, the old ways, and the old beliefs.

  • CountryCanada
  • Year2016
  • Face Value20 Dollars
  • MetalSilver
  • Fineness (purity)999/1000
  • Weight (g)31.1 (1 oz)
  • Size (mm)33 x 45
  • QualityProof
  • Mintage (pcs)7.500
  • Certificate (COA)Yes
  • Presentation case (box)Yes
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The reverse design by Canadian artist Ann Morash captures the intricate beauty of a pysanka. Every element on this Ukrainian Easter egg is rich with symbolic meaning, including the individual colours: yellow stands for youth and purity; red represents the joy and passion in life; green is the colour of spring, which brings hope and renewal; and black suggests the darkest time before dawn, and the idea of eternity.
When combined, these colours—and the motifs they enhance—result in a design that is open to many interpretations, but that is nonetheless a vibrant celebration of a full and colourful life. At the top and bottom of the egg are large flowers, which symbolize love, goodwill and the beauty of nature; these are framed by bands of waves that speak of water’s life-giving properties, and the idea of eternity. Beneath the waves at the top are stylized depictions of the sun and stars, which symbolize life, fortune and growth; a re-interpretation of these also appear in the centre, where they alternate with evergreen boughs that represent eternal health and youth.