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 Highland dress

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Laird de Harris

Laird de Harris

Nombre de messages : 339
Age : 60
Localisation : Illifaut
Date d'inscription : 13/09/2007

Highland dress Empty
MessageSujet: Highland dress   Highland dress Icon_minitimeMer 6 Mai - 11:36

voila vous avez demande de prendre de chose en ecossais!!!! ce commence ici avec un peu d'histoire du des habits sur les Highlands.
amusé vous bien


THE national dress of Scotland has for long fascinated both the Scot and the Sassenach, and the purpose of this small volume is to give a brief outline of its history and development, and to reproduce a few of the beautiful plates from McIan's The Clans of the Scottish Highlands. No national dress which is entitled to be considered a living costume can be anything but the result of a process of evolution, and Highland dress is no exception. Its origin is lost in antiquity, and the earliest documentary evidence of its existence dates from the end of the fifteenth century.

From the descriptions given by travellers who visited Scotland in the sixteenth century, a fairly clear picture can be formed of the development of Highland dress before the year 1600. It will be a surprise to many to learn that the kilt, which is so universally regarded as traditionally a part of the Scottish national costume, did not exist in any recognisable form before the end of the sixteenth century. What then did the Highlander wear? A writer of that time gives a very complete description when he says, 'As for their apparel; next to the skin they wear a short linnen shirt, which the great men among them sometimes dye of saffron colour. They use it short, that it may not encumber them when running, or travelling. The common people among them went out to battle, having their body covered with linnen of many folds, sewed together, and done over with wax or pitch, with a covering of hart's skin; in the sharp winter the Highland men wear close trowzes which cover the thighs, legs and feet. To fence their feet, they put on rullions, or raw leather shoes. Above their shirt they have a single coat, reaching no farther than the navel. Their uppermost garment is a loose cloke of several ells, striped and partly colour'd, which they gird breadthwise with a leather belt, so as it scarce covers the knees; and that for the above-mention'd reason, that it may be no lett to them, when on a journey or doing any work. Far the greatest part of the Plaid covers the uppermost parts of the body. Sometimes it is all folded round the body about the region of the belt, for disengaging and leaving the hands free; and sometimes'tis wrapped round all that is above the flank. The trowzes are for winter use; at other times they content themselves with short hose, which scarce reach to the knees. When they compose themselves to rest and sleep, they loose the belt and roll themselves in the plaid, lying down on the bare ground, or putting heather under them, nicely set together after their manner' (James Man: Introduction to A History qf Scots Affairs, 1637-41). Before the year 1600, therefore, Highland dress consisted of;

(a) Plaid worn loose, possibly of tartan, but certainly of different colours;

(b) Linen shirt, for those who could afford it dyed with saffron;

(c) Shortjacket;

(d) Trews for winter use, otherwise stockings to the top of the calf of the leg;

(e) Raw leather covering for the feet.

In the accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland for the year 1538, there is an interesting and detailed inventory of the cost of the materials for a Highland dress made for King James V. These accounts include'3 ells of Heland tertane to be hoiss at four shillings and four pence to the ell', and piecing together the other items in the Treasurer's Accounts, King James's complete outfit would have consisted of a short jacket, possibly of tartan, but more probably of coloured or vari-coloured velvet, lined with a green material, a pair of tartan trews, and two or more long shirts of linen hanging to the knee.

About the year 16oo, the Leine chroich or linen saffron shirt went out of use. It should be noted that the saffron shirt was an outer and not an under garment. It is thought that the saffron shirt disappeared, partly because of the increasing poverty of the Highlands, and partly because of the devastation of Ireland by the Elizabethan wars, which destroyed the source of supply of linen. Whatever the cause, the dress of the Highlander underwent a marked change, and the filleadh mór or beltcd-plaid came

into use. It consisted of a plain piece of tartan, two yards in width by four to six yards in length. The method of putting it Oil was simple, if not very convenient. The plaid was placed on the ground, and folded neatly in pleats, until its length had been reduced to about five feet, leaving as much at each end unpleated as would cover the front of the body, overlapping each other. The plaid being thus prepared, the wearer would lie down on it, so that its lower edge was level with his knees. The unpleated ends he then folded across his body, so that they overlapped, and before standing up he would fasten the plaid around his waist with a leather belt. After putting on his jacket, the remainder of the plaid, which would be hanging loosely down to his ankles, would be arranged with skill and taste on the left shoulder, and fastened with a large brooch or pin. Thus, in bad weather, the upper portion of the plaid was available to be worn round the shoulders and over the head, giving considerable protection from the elements. From about the year 1600 to the end of the first quarter of the eighteenth century, the belted-plaid was the dress of all Highlanders, except the more affluent, who when riding on horseback wore trews of tartan with a plaid fastened across the left shoulder. John Taylor, a Londoner who stayed as aguest of the Earl of Mar at Braemar in the year 1618, has described the dress of his host and fellow guests, which he himself wore when out bunting with them, thus 'Their habit is shoes with but one sole apiece; stockings (which they call short hose) made of a warm stuff of divers colours which they call tartane. As for breeches, many of them, nor their forefathers, never wore any, but a jerkin of the same stuff that their hose is of, their garters being bands or wreathes of hay or straw, with a plaid about their shoulders, which is a mantle of divers colours, much finer and lighter stuff than their hose, with blue caps on their heads, a handkerchief knit with two knots about their neck; and thus they are attired' (John Taylor, The Pennylesse Pilgrimage, 1633).

Once again when change did take place, it appears to have taken place very rapidly, and to have been accepted throughout the Highlands. About the year 1725 the filleadh beg or little kilt came into use, and by the time of the Forty-Five it was worn almost exclusively, although a few still preferred to wear the filleadh mo’r. The filleadh beg was simply the lower half of the filleadh mo'r, the two parts now being separate garments, and the pleats being permanently sewn and secured round the waist with a strap or buckle. The upper part of the filleadh mo’r was worn as a loose plaid. This was a considerable improvement in convenience in dressing, and it is not surprising that it became so widely adopted throughout the Highlands in so short a space of time. It is indeed fundamentally the kilt as it is known -today, and which in essentials has not undergone any changes for more than two centuries. Thus at the time of its proscription in I 747, Highland dress consisted of;

(a) Filleadh mor, the belted-plaid or great kilt;

(b) Filleadh beg, the little kilt;

(c) Trews, used only by the upper classes when out riding.

All three forms of Highland dress made use of tartan, but before considering the history and development of tartan, it is essential to know something of the Scottish clan system. It has been said with much justification that nowhere did the feudal system attain greater perfection and remain longer the social Organisation of the country than in the Highlands. Feudalism survived in Scotland when it had become a worn-out institution elsewhere. It made possible the clan system, which became a fundamental feature in the structure of the state, and which has survived to the present day as a living force. The Court of the Lord Lyon continues to function, and to determine questions involving chiefship, chieftainship and clanship, and indeed, in a recent case, the right of appeal to the Court of Session and thence to the House of Lords has been exercised.

Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, the Lyon King of arms, says the word clan or clanna simply means children, i.e. the descendants of the actual or mythical ancestor from whom the community claims descent, so far as these remain within a tribal group. Both the group and the clan territory were called after the chief, who in theory was owner of the whole group and of the land of the group, with absolute power over every member. Dr. Johnson, who - despite the unfortunate impression created by Boswell - was an understanding observer of conditions in Scotland, has given us this anglicised version of clanship in eighteenth century Scotland: 'The Laird is the original owner of the land, whose natural power must be very great where no man lives but by agriculture, and where the produce of the land is not conveyed through the labyrinths of traffic, but passes directly from the hand that gathers to the mouth that eats it. The Laird has all those in his power that live on his Farms. This inherent power was yet strengthened by the kindness of consanguinity, and the reverence of patriarchal authority. The Laird was the father of the clan, and his tenants commonly bore his name; and to these principles of original command was added, for many ages, an exclusive right of legal jurisdiction. This multifarious and extensive obligation operated with a force scarcely credible, every duty, moral or political, was absorbed in affection and adherence to the chief Not many years have passed since the clans knew no law but the Laird's will; he told them to whom they should be friends or enemies; what kings they should obey, and what religion they should profess' (journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, 1773)-

It might well be thought from Dr. Johnson's description that the Highland chief was unashamedly an autocrat, but this was not so. The Organisation of the clan was remarkably democratic, as it was a fundamental principle of clanship that the chief administered the clan territories for behoof of his clan, it being his duty to see that every one of his clansmen was suitably provided for. The chief was regarded by members of the clan not as an overlord, but as the friend and father of the clansmen. This equitable state of affairs was only brought to an end by the passing of the Heritable jurisdiction Act Of 1748 by a Parliament sitting in London, determined to devitalise the Highlands. This paved the way for the evictions, the deer afforestation, and the bitterness of the nineteenth century. That it helped to make possible the colonisation of the British Empire was a purely incidental result from the wilful destruction of the Scottish clan system.

Dernière édition par Laird de Harris le Mer 6 Mai - 11:37, édité 1 fois
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Laird de Harris

Laird de Harris

Nombre de messages : 339
Age : 60
Localisation : Illifaut
Date d'inscription : 13/09/2007

Highland dress Empty
MessageSujet: highland dress PT II   Highland dress Icon_minitimeMer 6 Mai - 11:36

A brief reference only can be made to the fascinating and complicated method of succession to the chiefship. The law of Tanistry, i.e. the right of the ruling chief to nominate his successor, is an essential feature of the clan system. Although the succession is hereditary in the family, it can be and sometimes is selective in the individual. Nor does the Salic Law apply, but an incoming husband is required to assume his wife's name, and holds the office of chief through his wife.

The importance of the clan or family in the Highlands of Scotland makes it but natural that at an early date the clan should have sought to clothe itself in a manner in which its members might be readily identifiable. There is considerable argument as to the precise period in Scottish history when it can be said that each clan had its own distinctive 'sett', as the pattern of tartan is called. Some authorities claim that the evolution of clan tartans dates from the twelfth century, but probably the process was one of gradual development. Certainly by the close of the sixteenth century clan territories had become more or less defined, and thereafter it is possible to trace the adoption by the clans of individual and identifiable setts. Prior to the Proscription Act Of 1746, the clansmen were able to clothe themselves from the resources of their own glen, the tartan for the kilt being made by their women folk. Moreover, the cloth was of very fine quality, made possible by the soft wool of the old Highland sheep, and the beautiful colouring was achieved by the use of home-made vegetable dyes. The clan sett offered no difficulty to the weaver, as she had beside her a measuring stick. A web of tartan is 2 feet 2 inches wide, so that the actual size of the pattern may vary, but the colour divisions relative to one another must be kept to scale. James Logan, author of The Scottish Gael, collected and published in 1831 a table of clan tartans. The method he uses to describe the pattern is as follows: Beginning at the edge of the cloth, and working throughout a square, the depth of each colour is stated in figures (representing one eighth of an inch) and the square is completed when the scale has been reversed or gone through again to the commencement. The length only is given, as the warp and woof of the pattern are the same. Thus, the sett of the Rose tartan is half red, 5 blue, 5 black, 5 green, white, 2 black, white, 5 green, 5 black, 5 blue, 1 red. The Ogilvie tartan, the most complicated sett, has eighty one colour graduations before repeating itself After 1747, the making of homespun tartan was necessarily discontinued, and with the repeal of the Proscription Act in 1782, the art of preparing tartan had largely been lost. Hard tartan, made by machinery, was not satisfactory, and cheviot came to be used. The unique knowledge of the Highlander in the art of making vegetable dyes had irretrievably gone, and mineral dyes came into universal use. In the present century, however, research has made possible the re-introduction of the old colours produced from modern vegetable and synthetic dyes. Today it is possible again to obtain beautiful tartans in saxonies as well as in worsteds, spun very fine, and twisted very hard - a process which enables a kilt to keep its pleat indefinitely.

We have seen that by the middle of the eighteenth century, the filleadh beg had replaced the filleadh mór. In passing, one feels obliged to refer to the contention, still, it seems, widely held, that the kilt was the invention of an enterprising Englishman. This view would not be worthy of consideration were it not so hurtful to scottish national pride. Briefly, the story is that about the year 1728 an Englishman called Thomas Rawlinson, manager of an iron works in Lochaber, thought his workmen would be more active in clothing less cumbersome than the belted plaid; accordingly he directed that the upper half be cut off, and used as a separate garment. It is said that Rawlinson's invention was so handy and convenient that it was immediately adopted throughout the Highlands. Concerning this curious and oftrepeated story, it is perhaps only necessary to quote the observations of the late J. G. Mackay of Portree, an authority on the history of Highland dress: 'It is surely too great a strain upon our credulity to ask us to believe that a Highlander should take his sixteen yards of cloth, cut it in two, and stitch the two pieces together in order to make it double width, and pleat it into the belted-plaid, and then, when he wanted a lighter garment, have to wait till an Englishman came round to teach him how to undo his stitching and pleat his material singly into the kilt' (The Romantic Story of the Highland Garb and Tartan, 1924).

There have been few changes in the making of the kilt in the last two hundred years, although today the cloth is cut out at the waist to make a neater figure. Formerly this was not done, to permit of the kilt being turned four different times for reasons of economy. With the exception of regimental kilts, a kilt is always pleated to show the pattern of the tartan all round. The military style of box-pleating having one predominant stripe down each pleat is used only because it is more economical of material, and is not in accordance with the heraldic tradition of the tartan. Wherever troops of the Highland regiments are stationed, the question is asked, What does a Scotsman wear under his kilt? The answer is, of course, nothing at all, although boys and younger men often wear abbreviated under-trews of light-weight tartan.

The Highlander, because of his Celtic origin, loved ornamentation, and his dress provided him with the opportunity of displaying as much wealth as he could afford. Even men of lowly rank spent lavishly on silver-mounted sporrans, belts, buckles and brooches, richly ornamented, sometimes with precious or semi-precious stones. Those in near relationship to the chief wore lavishly decorated claymores, pistols and powder-horns. In the bonnet would be found a silver brooch with the crest of the wearer. Even the poorest clansman wore buttons of silver, so that wherever he might die, sufficient wealth would be found on his person to ensure a decent burial.

Until the middle of the nineteenth century, the Highlander did not wear knitted hose, but stockings cut out of tartan cloth, shaped and stitched with considerable ingenuity. The garters were a yard in length, wound round and round the leg, finishing on the outside of both leg and stocking in a particular garterknot called snaoim gartain. In the outside of the right stocking to this day is worn a sgian dubh, meaning literally 'a black knife'. When footwear was used, it took the form of either the brog - a very simple form of shoe - or the cuaran - a kind of boot, reaching high up the leg - the sole of which was pierced with small holes to allow water to escape. For headgear, the round bonnet now called the Balmoral was worn, and it was not until the nineteenth century that the Glengarry came into favour.

Trews - a word of French origin, akin to the Gaelic triubhas, meaning trousers - were worn only by gentlemen when out riding. The old Highland trews were a sartorial work of art. In appearance, they resembled the tight 'long hose' of the Middle Ages, and were tailored quite differently from modern trousers. The legs of the trews were each made from a single piece of tartan, with one seam only, running down the back; the cloth was cut on the bias so that the threads in both directions ran diagonally to produce an elastic effect, enabling the trews to fit closely, and to take the form of the legs almost as well as stockings. The modern so-called trews of the Highland regiments are simply trousers or regimental 'strapped overalls' made of tartan cloth.

The Proscription Act Of 1746 was enforced throughout the Highlands with almost unbelievable severity. The clans which had adhered to the Hanoverian cause suffered equally with the others, and cases actually occurred where guilty men were acquitted of murder for no other reason than that their victims were wearing the illegal kilt. We must remember that it was the considered policy of the Government of the day to put an end to the Scottish clan system. It has been said that the necessity of these measures is the best apology for their severity, and it is perhaps all the more ironical that it was this same Government which saved the kilt from complete extinction. In 1739, owing it is said to the genius of Chatham, the first Highland regiment - the famous Black Watch - was raised, incorporating in its uniform the filleadh beg, beloved of the clansmen; and before the repeal of the Proscription Act in I782, more than a score of Highland battalions had been embodied. It is thus all the more inexplicable that by the end of the eighteenth century, the War Office had begun the first of their many repeated, but fortunately unsuccessful, attempts to have trousers substituted for the kilt in the Highland regiments. In the first World War, the kilted regiments created havoc amongst the enemy, and the Scot was more flattered than surprised to find the Germans had nicknamed the famous 51ist Highland Division 'the Ladies from Hell'. In the autumn Of 1939, the War Office announced that the kilt, in view of its unsuitability for mechanised warfare, would in future be used only for ceremonial and 'walking out' dress. This was a great blow to the Highlander, and even the most optimistic among them can be pardoned for believing that the glorious history of the kilt as a combatant uniform had at last come to an end. Yet, early in 1942, official permission was given to Scottish Commandos to wear the kilt during the raid on St Nazaire, nor was it the last occasion when the enemy had to face 'the Ladies from Hell'.

Following the repeal of the Act in 1782, one might have expected a sudden return to the wearing of the kilt, but this was not the case. Two-thirds of the generation that first saw the proscription of Highland dress enforced had passed away, and poverty, along with other circumstances, made it impossible for the inhabitants of the glens to wear the kilt once again. Before the passing of the Act of Union of the Scottish and English Parliaments in I 707, the kilt had been regarded by the Lowlands of Scotland as an uncouth and vulgar garb. The unpopularity of the Act of Union, however, in the period prior to the Forty Five, had nursed a growing nationalism which expressed itself in the wearing of Highland dress, even by Lowland families. It was thus as much from the Lowlands as from the Highlands that at the close of the eighteenth century a revival in interest in Highland dress took place, which received much impetus from the romantic writings of Sir Walter Scott, and the inspiring portraits of Sir Henry Raeburn, 'whose Highland Chiefs do all but walk out of the canvas'. This revival reached its zenith on August 19th, 1822, when George IV gave a great Highland Levee at Holyrood. He himself was dressed in a kilt of Stewart tartan, and at the banquet which concluded the Royal visit the King gave the toast 'The Chieftains and Clans of Scotland'.

But the revival was not all gain for Scotland. It ushered in the nineteenth-century reign of the 'tartan terror" from the effects of which Scotland has not yet fully recovered. Chocolate boxes and birthday books swathed in tartan, and little girls at Highland gatherings dressed in travesties of the real thing, did much to make in the end the national dress, outside of Scotland, little more than a music-hall joke. This unfortunate state of affairs was partly due also to a growing tendency for the wearing of Highland dress to become a matter of class distinction, owing no doubt to the high cost of the complete outfit.

The last forty years have seen many welcome developments, which have made the wearing of the kilt popular among all classes of scotsmen. Nor has the dress itself remain edstatic, but, being a living national costume, it has adapted itself to the changed conditions of our times, and is today simpler and less expensive, without losing the essential Celtic love of ornamentation. It has been adopted by the Scottish Boy Scouts and by Youth Hostlers from the Scottish cities, but be it donned by rich or poor, old or young, it is seldom that one-meets an outfit that does little credit to the national garb. Nothing perhaps is more surprising than that the British Army war-time battledress blouse has provided an upper garment to wear with the kilt which gives to Highland dress a new usefulness and dignity, displaying the beauty of the pleating of the kilt to better advantage than ever before.

The Lord Lyon King of Arms has recently pointed out that Highland dress is now the only form of daily civilian attire in which heraldry is ordinarily worn. In an age of sartorial monotony, it is indeed pleasant to know that a future is assured for Highland dress - the unique heritage of which every Scotsman is justly proud.
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