Edinburgh Zoo pandas honoured with special tartan on eve of Burns Night

February 4, 2012

 A SPECIAL tartan commissioned to mark the arrival of the Edinburgh Zoo pandas was unveiled today.

Tian Tian and Yang Guang jetted intoEdinburghon a specially chartered flight fromChinaon December 4 last year.

Edinburgh Zoo commissioned the tartan from local company Kinloch Anderson to mark the bears’ arrival.

The design features black, white and a little grey to reflect the colour of the pandas’ fur, green for bamboo and three red lines to representChina.

It was unveiled at the zoo today to tie in with Burns Night tomorrow and Chinese New Year yesterday.

Deirdre Kinloch Anderson, senior director of Kinloch Anderson, said: “Tartan is one ofScotland’s greatest icons. Careful attention was given to create a tartan with a meaningful background, with relevance both to the zoo and also toChina- and importantly a tartan that people find attractive.

“We hope that this tartan will ‘fly the flag forScotland’ and that tartan merchandise will leave the zoo gift shop for homes not only inScotlandbut all over the world.”

She said the three red lines are at the heart of the design to indicate that the pandas are in the hearts and minds of the Scottish and Chinese people, while three isChina’s lucky number.

The design is also based on the Gillespie tartan as the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which operates the zoo, was founded by theEdinburghlawyer Thomas Gillespie in 1909.

The tartan has been approved by the Scottish Registrar of Tartans and merchandise featuring the design will be available at the zoo gift shop and online from early April.

Hugh Roberts, chief executive of Edinburgh Zoo, said: “We’re delighted with the panda tartan designed for us by Kinloch Anderson.

“This significant and highly exciting project symbolically demonstrates the coming together ofScotlandandChina’s heritage and culture – making it the perfect way to commemorate the gift of two giant pandas thatChinabestowed uponScotland.

“Its unveiling on the overlap of two separate culturally significant days for bothChinaandScotlandfeels very appropriate and auspicious timing.”

The pandas, an eight-year-old breeding pair, will stay inEdinburghfor at least 10 years.

Kirsty Franey, tartan designer at Kinloch Anderson, said: “It has been a great pleasure to work with the Edinburgh Zoo on such a culturally significant project and I am very proud to be able to celebrate and showcase the arrival of the pandas with the exclusive Edinburgh Zoo Panda Tartan.”

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