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Man’s Shawl

Curated Submission
Markham, Ontario, Canada
19th century
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
367 x 102
Materials & techniques
Wool; Woven, fringed
From the Opekar/Webster Collection
Textile Museum of Canada T94.0388
From the early to mid-19th century in Ontario, shawls were worn by men as a top winter garment. Men’s shawls, which were long and rectangular, were not as common as women’s shawls, which were square, folded diagonally, and draped over the shoulder.

Some of the best hand-weaving is found in shawls that were expected to last a lifetime. The high-quality wool of this shawl has been spun with care and carefully woven in a single length over three metres. The checked pattern resembles a Scottish shepherd’s plaid. The draping quality of this fine weaving lends itself to being worn in typical fashion, wrapped around the upper body and over the shoulder. Men’s shawls were practical and comfortable garments for walking, riding, and driving a carriage. There are historical accounts of men wrapped in their shawls and wearing a top hat.
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