The Borodianka cockerel – a symbol of Ukrainian might and perseverance


One of the first pictures taken by photographers in the town of Borodianka near Kiev ravaged by the Russians depicts ruins of a residential building. It shows remains of walls and a kitchen cabinet with an intact ceramic figurine of a cockerel standing in it. The cockerel is a type of jug made at the Vasylkov Maiolica Factory in the Kiev region. The factory had been manufacturing pottery since the year 1928. It was mainly staffed by local folk artists, such as Prokip Bidasiuk, Nadia and Valery Protoryev, Mykhailo Denysenko and Nelli Ysupova. Their products reflected Ukrainian craft traditions and folk beliefs. The cockerel – by Valery Protoryev – was for the Slavs a zoomorphic image of the Sun, and in various cultures it symbolised the victory of light over darkness (as it is the bird that announces the morning). The ceramic figurine found in Borodianka has become one of the symbols of Ukraine’s struggle – President Volodymyr Zelensky, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Professor Piotr Glinski have all received this type of gift. The cabinet with the cockerel saved in the ruins of the building in Borodianka has been retrieved by employees of the National Museum of the Revolution of Dignity and will be an exhibit showcased at the institution. A statue symbolising the Borodianka cockerel has meanwhile been erected in in the city of Berezne in the Rivne Oblast (region).

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