Officially registered tartan graphics on this site courtesy of The Scottish Tartans Authority.  Other tartans from talented tartan artists may also be featured.

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Jul 8

Math 2.0 Day

Grey Douglas (Vestiarium Scoticum)
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St. Benedictusberg Abbey
Dom Hans van der Laan, St.Benedictusberg Abbey at Vaals (The Netherlands). Photo: Jeroen Verrecht
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"Tartan ... is a supreme example of the integration of shape and form." Dom Hans Van Der Laans, "On a Scottish Tartan" (1969)

Well, who can disagree with that? Math 2.0 Day was invented to celebrate the interdisciplinary connections and integrations between math, sciences, technology, and other areas of invention and discovery. Illustrative of the blending of math, art, and architecture, this particular tartan was taken as a quintessential example by Dom Hans Van Der Laan, a Dutch architect, theorist, and Benedictine monk. In his essay, "On a Scottish Tartan," h employs a detailed study of the Grey Douglas tartan to demonstrate "how the spatial relationships between the light grey and black of the sett are indicative of, and can generate, a formula with which to consider how human relationships mirror architectural structures, and in turn how those same structures might relate to landscape."

This relatively new tribute day was invented to celebrate the interdisciplinary connections and integrations between math, sciences, technology, and other areas of invention and discovery.

Illustrative of the blending of math, art, and architecture, this particular tartan was taken as a quintessential example by Dom Hans Van Der Laan, a Dutch architect, theorist, and Benedictine monk.  In his essay, "On a Scottish Tartan" (1969) he states that tartan is "a supreme example of the integration of technique and form."

From Networks of Design: Proceedings of the 2008 Annual International Conference of Design History Society (UK), University College, Falmouth, regarding Van Der Laan's analysis:

Networks of Design: Proceedings of the 2008 Annual International Conference ..

"In his essay, he goes on to employ a detailed study of the Grey Douglas tartan to demonstrate how the spatial relationships between the light grey and black of the sett are indicative of, and can generate, a formula with which to consider how human relationships mirror architectural structures, and in turn how those same structures might relate to landscape.  He executed detailed drawings of the proportionate width of the different coloured stripes, of the actual appearance of tartans and demonstrations of the changing relationship between figure and ground according to how the width of a stripe is varied.  His studies occupy a fascinating interdisiplinary space located somewhere in the vicinity of a traditional weaver's tartan thread counts, architectural drauhtsmanship and quasi-religious, mathematical treatises." 

This tartan is from the Vestiarium Scoticum (1842), referred to by John Telfer Dunbar as "probably the most controversial costume book ever written".  The authors, the Sobieski Stuart brothers, enjoyed a popular following among the Scottish gentry in the early Victorian era, and in the spirit of the times, added mystery, romance and some spurious historical documentation to the subject of tartan.

The book itself is purported to be a reproduction, with color illustrations, of a 15th-century manuscript on the clan tartans of Scottish families.  Shortly after its publication it was denounced as a forgery, and the "Stuart" brothers who brought it forth were also denounced as impostors for claiming to be the grandsons of Bonnie Prince Charlie. It is generally accepted today that neither the brothers themselves nor the Vestiarium are what they were purported to be.

Nevertheless, the role of the book in the history of Scottish tartans is immense, with many of the designs and patterns contained therein passing into the realm of "official" clan tartans.

For more on Dom Han Van Der Laan's integrative philosophy and influence, click the photo of one of his designs, the St. Benedictusberg Abbey at Vaals.