a) Color the eggs in scraps of silk material of various colors. These scraps must first be shredded, then mixed together. Wash the eggs thoroughly, wipe them clean, and then moisten them again. Place pieces of blue sugar paper cut into designs on the eggs and then wrap them in the shreds of silk. Cover all this with an old cloth, tie with thread, and place the eggs in a saucepan with cold water. Boil for 10 minutes, counting from the moment when the water first begins to boil. Remove the eggs from the water, cool, and take off the cloth and silk.
b) Wash eggs until clean, wipe dry, wrap in old cloths, and tie up with several threads. With a small wooden stick, dab drops of ink on the eggs in several places. Submerge them in water, bring the water to a boil, and boil the eggs for 10 minutes. Remove them from the water, cool, and remove the cloths.
c) Color red as follows: Pour ¼ lb of sandalwood [chips ??] into a medium-size earthenware jug, cover with cold water, and set aside until the next day. Place the water on top of the stove and when it begins to boil, stir in ½ lot of alum. Immerse the eggs in the liquid and keep them on the edge of the stove until they turn color. Then set the jug over a high flame, boil for 10 minutes, and cool the eggs in the liquid. Remove them from the dye, wipe them with cotton wool soaked in olive oil, and dry them with a towel. Arrange the eggs on a platter lined with a napkin. One batch of dye will color two or three batches of eggs.
d) Eggs may be dyed yellow by boiling them in onion skins or the leaves of young birch trees.
For diversity, dip eggs that have been dyed red into yellow dye and those dyed yellow into red dye. Bring them to a boil once, etc.
e) These days eggs are dyed beautifully using powders, which are sold in chemical laboratories with instructions for coloring them.
f) Still better are the “Marke”* dyes, which stain the eggs bright red, violet, blue, yellow, green, and orange.
g) Marbled paper is sold at chemists’ shops and chemical laboratories for 5 kopecks, with 10 sheets to an envelope.
h) Liquid dyes in 12 colors are sold at 10 kopecks per flacon.
i) “Mozaic effect”* is sold for dyeing eggs in brilliant colors at 20 kopecks per flacon.
j) Gold and silver paints for eggs are 5 kopecks a package.
k) Powders for dyeing eggs a variegated marble cost 5 kopecks a package.
l) Egg lacquer in 12 colors is sold for 10 kopecks per flacon.
All these dyes are sold with printed directions.
*The starred items were brand name products which apparently were readily available in the stores of St. Petersburg. I have found no further information about the firms or their wares.
© 1992 All rights reserved. Published by Indiana University Press.