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History of the Decorative Egg  •  Decorative Egg Museum  •  Wild Bird Egg Museum  •  Dinosaur Egg
Decorative Egg Collection at Dovetail Gallery
Decorative Egg Collection at Dovetail Gallery
 


DOVETAIL GALLERY PROUDLY PRESENTS THE
History of the Decorative Egg
 

A tradition that began thousands of years ago, the gifting of an Easter egg is a beautiful historical gesture renewed each spring.

  • The ancient Egyptians believed the egg was sacred and gave it a central place in religious cycles as a divine force. In Egyptian history, the egg was the original cell that exploded giving birth to the universe.

  • The Chinese taught the myth of Adams birth, hatched from an egg preceding the creation of the universe. The shell of the original egg formed the sky, the white became the air and the yolk gave birth to plants and animals.

  • The ancient Greeks offered the egg as food to the gods in the course of religious ceremonies by placing it on their altars.

  • The Persians initiated the practice of exchanging eggs -- usually painted red -- in celebration of the spring equinox. The Persians' eggs are, therefore, the most ancient examples of our Easter eggs.

  • The Romans and Christians believed the egg symbolized nature's fruitfulness and creation. They also associated the egg with death and assigned it mystical powers. St Augustine deemed the egg to represent the resurrection of Christ. Throughout the Dark Ages, the Europeans kept the Easter custom of children giving and collecting baskets of colored duck or chicken eggs.
 

Decorated ostrich eggs appeared in Europe during the 13th century. The first explorers to navigate North Africa regarded these beautiful, curious large eggs as rare and amazing.

Egg decorating possibilities are as limitless as our imaginations. The most basic methods include dying them with natural products, including onionskins, berries and wood shavings, or covering them with reeds, seashells, string or beads. Each country has it's own unique techniques and traditions often overlapping with their neighboring countries. Eggshells are utilized but often they are made from wood, glass, and porcelain or carved from stone. As different as their designs, so too are the customs for gifting eggs.

In 2014, Kathleen and Tom donated their 20-year-plus collection of decorated and wild bird eggs for permanet display at the community center in Egg Harbor. Read more about it in the article: Egg Collection Donated to Village of Egg Harbor.