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Scandinavian Style Tapestry

Curated Submission
Northern Europe
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
147 x 126
Materials & techniques
Wool; Weaving
Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library 48.00
This woven tapestry is executed in a traditional Scandinavian style. The two rows of female figures represent a Biblical passage, Matthew 25:1–13, the parable of the ten virgins. Written beneath their feet in Danish is a common name for the parable, “5 KLOGE JOMFRUER / 5 DAARLIGE JOMFRUER,” or “The Wise and Foolish Virgins.” The text is written backwards: tapestries are woven from the rear, and this artist neglected to reverse the letters.
Myths, legends, and religious stories often provided inspiration for the design of textiles from samplers to tapestries, and Biblical parables were common subject matter. This particular story was an exceptionally popular design for tapestries in Norway, though this example likely originated in Denmark. Immigrants to Manitoba brought many objects like this one, but more importantly they brought their cultures and artistic traditions. The early Crafts Guild of Manitoba was made up of many national and ethnic groups, such as the Scandinavian Group.
The members of these groups worked hard to maintain their traditional art forms in their new country. Many of them were unhappy with Canadian consumer culture and continually stressed the value of handmade items over mass-produced, disposable products. This philosophy and type of work was integral to building Manitoba’s rich contemporary crafts community, which continues to grow today.
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