Easter is upon us and while most of us associated bunnies with the secular aspect of this holiday, horses have an oddly frequent presence on decorative eggs. Let’s take a look!
Easter egg, pysanka, decorating is a form of Ukrainian folk art. Receipt of a pysanka is a token of friendship and esteem. A pysanka in the home offers good fortune, wealth, health, and protection from lightning and fire. This tradition of egg painting can be traced to 1300 B.C. In attempting to understand creation, ancient people developed myths in which the egg was perceived as the source of life, the sun and the universe. Decorating eggs, this life source, was a means to explain the world. Over the centuries ideograms developed that symbolized nature, life and death and culture. The horse is a popular motif symbolizing wealth, prosperity, endurance and speed.
There are many Faberge eggs featuring horses, and there had to be a first. Theo Faberge (grandson of Peter Carl Faberge) worked for years on his Carousel Egg design. Inspired by visits to the United States, it captures the essence of carousel art common to American amusement parks at the turn of the last century.
The sterling silver and 24 carat gold Egg was the first to feature two colors of enamel on the shell, both royal blue and cherry red guilloché enamel. The finial, the Romanov Crown, is set with a cabochon ruby. The Egg contains a working carousel embellished with Theo’s signature engine. Upon being wound the horses spin rising and descending to the Carousel Waltz by Chopin. The horses are decorated differently, each representing a distinctive American decorative carousel style.