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Manitoba Tartan

Curated Submission
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
138 x 30
Materials & techniques
Wool; Weaving
Gift of Hugh K. Rankine
Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library 190.00
This hand-woven scarf features Manitoba’s official provincial tartan. The tartan was designed by Hugh K. Rankine, a weaver with Scottish ancestry, and woven by Elsie Ogston in 1958. Many of the earliest settlers in Manitoba came from Scotland to join Lord Selkirk’s Red River Settlement, and Rankine felt that it was most appropriate for the province to have its own symbolic tartan. He designed two patterns: this green and red hunting tartan, and a formal red and white dress tartan. The design of the dress tartan is derived partly from Selkirk’s ancestral tartans, those of the Hamilton and Douglas families, and partly from prairie symbolism. As Rankine explained:

The Hamilton blood represented with three bands of blue. The Douglas name represented with the colour azure blue. Dark red squares symbolize the Red River Settlement, founded on the banks of the Red River, and the square block forts they built. White squares symbolize the vast stretches of snow through which they struggled and suffered, and for the virgin wilderness that surrounded them. A great feature of Manitoba’s climate is the vast snowfall and snow-covered areas during winter months. Azure blue lines symbolize the Red River flowing from the south, the Assiniboine River flowing from the west. Looking at the Manitoba tartan you will see the rivers flowing through green lines, symbolizing our rich farmlands and forests. Through yellow lines that symbolize our wealth of grain and harvests.

The tartan was registered with the Guardian of Scottish Heraldry, approved by the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, and received Royal Assent on May 1, 1962. A variety of items were woven in the provincial tartan by the Crafts Guild of Manitoba. These items, ranging from scarves to table runners, became extremely popular in the guild shop.
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