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Проектная работа на тему: "История килта"


hello_html_m773438d6.gifhello_html_m773438d6.gifhello_html_m773438d6.gifhello_html_m773438d6.gifhello_html_m773438d6.gifhello_html_m773438d6.gifhello_html_m773438d6.gifThe History of the Kilt

The tartan kilt has long been the most recognizable cultural tradition of the Highland Scots. Yet, many of the most common features and associated with the wearing of the kilt were, in fact, developed in the 19th century, not by Scottish Highlanders, but by the Nobles of England and Scotland.

The kilt, or philabeg to use its older Gaelic name, has its origin in an older garment called the belted plaid. The Gaelic word for tartan is breacan, meaning partially colored or speckled, and every tartan today features a multicolored arrangement of stripes and checks. Although the kilt is the usual display of the tartans, it also manifests itself in the form of trews ( trousers), shawls, and skirts.

The type of kilt first encountered in the 16th century is called a feilidh - mhor ( great wrap), a breacan - feile ( tartan wrap) or simply a belted plaid. All refer to the same garment. A plaid is a length of heavy woolen fabric worn over the body like a mantel or a shawl.

The Early Years

The fascinating story of tartan and Highland dress seen through many different eyes by Brian Wilton reproduced by kind permission of the House of Edgar, Perth.

On the  ancient caravan route through the heart of Asia - the Silk Road - illness or natural disaster overtook a group of early travellers and they were swallowed up by the shifting sands of the Taklamakan Desert in Xinjiang, western China.

2,500 to 3,000 years later, a Swedish explorer Sven Heden discovered the burial place of what were, by now, exceptionally well preserved mummies. Despite being in western China, their faces were Caucasoid with long slender noses, reddish brown or brown hair and fair skin. The textiles found in their burials were exquisitely woven of wool yarn and amongst them were perfectly preserved, complex . . . . . . tartans! Those ancient tartans, woven at least 500 years before King Tutankhamen of Egypt had been born, are proof indeed that tartan was a complex art form of those tall and long-nosed Celts - a group of west European peoples including the pre Roman inhabitants of Britain and France.

After that early manifestation of tartan, the art seemed to disappear into obscurity. Roman chroniclers tell of brightly coloured and striped clothing worn by the inhabitants of our islands, but they were not specific enough to identify the patterns as tartans. Another 1500 years was to pass before any meaningful references to tartan were documented. Even then the situation was extremely confusing —  the word
tartan probably comes from the French tiretaine which was a wool/linen mixture. In the 1600s it referred to a kind of cloth rather than the pattern in which the cloth was woven. The first positive proof of the existence of what we now call tartan, was in a German woodcut of about 1631, thought to show Highland soldiers - no doubt mercenaries - in the army of Gustavus Adolphus and wearing a clearly identified tartan philamhor - the great kilt.

The next major milestone in the history of tartan was the tragic
Battle of Culloden Culloden in 1746, the very last major battle to be fought on British soil. The romantic Young Pretender, Charles Edward Stuart - Bonnie Prince Charlie - ranged his  inferior Jacobite forces of Highlanders against the English Duke of Cumberland's disciplined army. The Jacobite army was organised into Clan regiments and as historian Jamie Scarlett explains "here we have the first hint of the use of tartan as a clan uniform." To understand how this battle proved to be the catalyst for the great Clan Tartan myth, we have to look at the lifestyle and the terrain in which many of Scotland's major families or clans lived at that time.

Each area or community grouping would doubtless have, as one of its artisans, a weaver. He - they were invariably men - would no doubt produce the same tartan for those around him and that tartan would initially become what we now call a District Tartan - one worn by individuals living in close geographical proximity such as glen or strath. By its very nature, that community would be one huge
extended family that soon became identified by its tartan which it wore, not to differentiate it from its neighbours in the next glen - but because that's what its community weaver produced! It was one short step from there to connect that tartan to the name of the wearers.

All weavers depended very much on local plants for their dyes so the locality of the weaver might well have some bearing on the colours of the tartan that he produced. If he lived on the west coast of Scotland,
Gipsywort would give him lettuce green, seaweeds would give him flesh colour and seashore whelks might provide purple. If he lived inland, then he would undoubtedly look to the moors for his colours:  heather treated in different ways would give him yellow, deep green and brownish orange; blaeberries (the favourite food of the grouse) would provide purples, browns and blues; over 20 different lichens would give him a wide range of subtle shades. If he was affluent or dyeing and weaving for a customer of some substance, then he would seek more exotic imported colours of madder, cochineal, woad and indigo.

If the concept of clan tartans was born at Culloden it wasn't universally known - in that battle there was frequently no way of differentiating friend from foe by the tartan he wore. The only reliable method was to see with what colour ribbon each combatant had adorned his bonnet. There is a contrary view that this was caused, not by the lack of clan tartans, but by the Highlander's propensity for discarding his cumbersome philamhor (belted plaid) before charging into the fray.

A major repercussion of Culloden was that King George II sanctioned the
Act of Proscription of the Highland Garb, and whilst it only applied to the Scottish Highlands, one of its major effects was to stop the Highlanders making tartan, which in turn led to the loss of a generation of weavers - the Act was not to be repealed for 36 years. As historian Jamie Scarlett adds: " . . . this led to the founding of large weaving manufactories on the Highland fringes, to supply the considerable needs of the Army and the new colonies; this was the beginning of the modern story of tartan."  The largest and most successful of these new manufactories was that of William Wilson and Son of Bannockburn. Fortunately for tartan lovers and historians, they were great hoarders of paperwork and there exists today a huge wealth of correspondence on their designs and their commercial undertakings.

The next milestone in the romanticization of tartan was the visit of King George IV to Edinburgh in 1822. Famous novelist Sir Walter Scott was in charge of affairs and the call went out to Highland Chieftains to attend the huge levee in Edinburgh, dressed in all their tartan finery. Despite the fact that - 7 years earlier -
The Highland Society of London had acquired a huge collection of clan tartans, each certified by the chief - there were still many clans who did not know what their tartan was, or indeed, if they had ever had one. Tales abound of Chiefs searching out the oldest members of the clan to see if they could remember! One merchant wrote to Wilsons of Bannockburn pleading "Please send me a piece of Ross tartan, and if there isn't one, please send me a different pattern and call it Ross."

The next and greatest boost to tartan came from Queen Victoria and her Consort, Prince Albert. They fell in love with Balmoral - the Royal residence on Deeside in Scotland - and with tartan and all things Highland. Prince Albert designed the now world famous Balmoral tartan and they bedecked room after room with it, further consolidating the Victorians' romanticised view of the 'noble' Highlander. In the spirit of the times two brothers, claiming illegitimate descent from Bonnie Prince Charlie, charmed society with their largely spurious but fascinating publication Vestiarium Scoticum. Claiming to have discovered an ancient manuscript - which they never managed to produce - Charles Sobieski Stuart and his brother recorded a wide range of clan tartans, many of them of very doubtful authenticity. Of the better known tartans, the book offers some minor variation, but in other cases it provides the only recorded version of many tartans in use today.

Meanwhile, down in their lowland 'manufactory', Wilsons of Bannockburn were quick to see the business opportunities of tartan's great popularity and produced design after design for an ever-hungry public. Whilst their tartans were initially just identified by numbers, they gradually acquired the names of the major buyers or the areas where they sold best. Great Highland and Lowland families hitherto 'tartanless', gradually acquired the much sought after and greatly-coveted social distinction of owning their very own tartan.
During the 1800s, the wearing of the belted plaid began to be exchanged for that of the kilt. The belted plaid, being a one - piece, six foot long cloth, belted about the waist with the remainder being worn up about the shoulder, was proving to be somewhat inconvenient to wear. A “ new” , little kilt design became popular, and it consisted of a plaid which had the traditional pleats permanently sewn in place, and separated the lower from the upper half, allowing the upper section to be removed when it became convenient.

In 1747. the Government , weary of being called to quell Highland uprisings, passed the Dress Act restricting the wearing of Highland plaid in any form in public. Punishment for a first offence was a 6 - month imprisonment, a second offence earned the wearer a 7 - year exile to an oversea work farm. Even the Bagpipes were outlawed , being considered an instrument of war. Only those in the army were permitted to wear the plaid, and as a result more comfortable traditional dress.

By the time the Dress Act was repealed in 1783, Celtic life had been forever altered and many of the old traditions and customs were lost forever. In spite of efforts revive the traditions, wearing the plaid was seen as only a nationalistic statement, and was no longer considered a way of life for Highlanders. The plaid now became more of a fashion experiment for the elite of England society. With the advent of the industrial revolution, the precise manufacturing and replication made possible by machinery, allowed the mass reproduction of the kilt.

Now, in the 21st century, little has changed.  Fascinated by their heritage, more and more Scots and Scots' descendants around the world, eagerly research their genealogy, contact their 'namesake' kith and kin via the marvels of the Internet, form family societies and  then crown their endeavours by having their own family tartan designed.

Tartan is the bonding that joins Scots around the globe - long may it survive and prosper.

A Word on Weavinghttp://www.tartansauthority.com/Web/MultimediaFiles/PAGE49.JPG

This article, written in May 1935 by Edward Harrison, comes from the E. S. Harrison A Word of Introduction and although somewhat dated, gives an excellent background to the process.

Weaving should have been outlined near the beginning of our series if we had followed a purely logical sequence. But in this bundling up of so many diverse things, as Montaigne puts it, we have not made any special logical rule, or rather have frequently designed a disciplined procession — horse, foot, and guns — only to find our interests taking us down byways and into odd corners of history — a fine, mixed metaphor! Anyhow, in Scottish Woollens we are dealing with an Art not a Science, so perhaps Fancy is a better leader than Logic.

To tell the truth we have been frightened of the subject. Tartans was a big subject that has filled a shelf or two of volumes from the most sumptuous folios down to quite humble small books — but Weaving has filled whole libraries. It seems a hopeless job to deal with such a subject in four pages.  In fact we can only touch in a detail or two to suggest in a way the vastness of our spaces, the wonderful diverse lines of human activity, human invention, human effort that have gone to the evolution of the modem industry of Weaving. Weaving is one of the great arts — world wide, set at the very gates of civilisation — uniting in a way all civilisations, all barbarisms, all people save those in the tropics, in that desperate struggle for life against the implacable destroyer and creator. Nature. It is always to these few universal arts that we must go for the history of the race. Building developed into architecture, and carries with it our only knowledge of man's earliest struggle for protection against man and beast and cold. This developing art gives us our only knowledge of races that have vanished like breath from a window pane. As difficulties were surmounted, the art blossomed up into some of the loveliest flowerings of the human spirit, and mankind, freed from the bondage of necessity, lavished on his buildings the imagery of his dreams. http://www.tartansauthority.com/Web/MultimediaFiles/PAGE50.JPG

Weaving, in the same way, has developed from the purely primitive function of protection to a vehicle of thought and imagination. Weaving did more than steam, more than aircraft, to tell us of the world and other people. It was sails that brought the civilisation of the Mediterranean to our land, that brought the various ingredients together that made the  Anglo-Saxon race, that joined the great continents of America to the outside world — Phoenicians, Venetians, Vikings, Conquistadores, Puritan fathers, French emigrants, Highlanders cleared from their native glens to make room for sheep — and as though the subject were too confined, the American expedition at present exploring the ancient sites of the Bible has just unearthed coarse linens evidently woven two or three thousand years before the Birth of Christ.  But this runs away with us. Our business is with Scottish Woollens, and how the old craft developed into the great mechanical industry of today. The trade has kept its old craft tradition in Scotland . The old, skilled craft evolved slowly in our old, poor country, much isolated by its poverty and as things then were by its remoteness from the сentres of light in Southern Europe . It is to this ancient and still well remembered ancestry that our Scottish Woollen Trade owes its marked individuality.

In the construction of ordinary cloths there are two sets of threads : the Warp, running the long way of the web of cloth and for ordinary purposes of clothing from your head to your feet; and the cross threads, the Weft, or more anciently the Woof, a word only remembered nowadays by poets. In the simplest form of cloth construction the first weft thread is passed under the first warp thread and over the second and so on right across; the second weft thread — which is really the same thread on its return journey — passes over the first warp thread and under the second, and this simple weave is called the Plain Weave. But the great bulk of Scottish Woollens are made in a denser and more pliable weave which we call the Common Twill, but which has many other names elsewhere. It is over two and under two, moving one thread onwards each time. Apart from certain figuring threads used in decoration of cloths and certain threads forming pile effects like carpets, tapestries, and velvets, all woven cloths are constructed on these lines. http://www.tartansauthority.com/Web/MultimediaFiles/PAGE51.JPG

Perhaps the best way to deal with our job is to visit one of our Scottish mills, somewhere in the country amongst trees and fields and hills, probably employing about three hundred, possibly much less. We are not mass producers. No firm doing specialized novelty work can be big. To begin with, it would be beyond the wit of man to produce novelty in bulk. If bulk comes in at the door, novelty flies out of the window!  As we walk towards the weaving shed a thin chattering fills the air, while somehow through it runs a rhythmic metallic clink, a sound that suggests thousands of typewriters all at work with the distant sound of a blacksmith at his anvil, overlaid on the chattering background of sound as the clear tones of the solo violin rise through the complex background of the orchestration.  As we open the door an appalling glamour overwhelms us. A noise in which lecturing is impossible and even thought seems obliterated. Yet the girls and men seem to go about their business unaware of the pandemonium. It is very seldom that a worker fails to become completely accustomed to the outrageous noise or to be in the least deafened by it. Possibly the fact that outside the weaving shed the sound hardly carries means that the volume is not great, and so the ear after the first shock can endure the sound without injury.

As the yarn is brought in from the spinning room it is fast wound on to various types of bobbins or, as we call them, pirns. Other machines are winding down hanks of colored yams that have been dyed in the yam. For the warps the yam is usually wound on "cheeses" — solid cylinders of yarn with a wooden core possibly six inches long and four or five inches in diameter — holding somewhere about three-quarters of a pound. Several ingenious types of machines are winding the weft on to long narrow bobbins for the shuttles. The slick work of the girls who tend these machines is delightful to watch — as is all dexterity. True, the eye is easy to deceive, but no eye can follow the movement of the worker's fingers as she ties one thread to another — the dexterity of the conjurer applied to common jobs.

Next comes the warping, rows upon rows of the cheeses are being built into the bank of the warping mill. A "bank" is a tall holder something like a bookcase, and in it, each on its steel spindle, the cheeses are arranged according to the pattern to be produced, just as the volumes in a bookcase follow some prearranged order. From there these threads are drawn off on to the great sparred cylinder of the mill, where by various devices each thread is kept in its proper place — and as the cheeses whirl round, the bank-boys watch the whole rushing spider's web to signal to the war per to stop his mill if a thread breaks or runs out. An elaborate and tricky job on complicated work such as our Scottish manufacturers make.  The bell rings to show the needed length has been warped, and then the contents of the mill cylinder are unwound on to the weaver's beam, a heavy, strong, wood-clad steel affair, say, nine feet long and eight or nine inches in diameter. It is shown in the diminutive pattern loom size in our plate of Drawing. "And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam," an ill weapon to fight with a sling and smooth stones from the brook ! http://www.tartansauthority.com/Web/MultimediaFiles/HANDLOOMWEAVER.GIF

Next comes the skilly job of Drawing. Every individual thread of the warp on the beam has to be drawn separately through a little eyelet in the weaving harness, again all according to a more or less elaborate scheme, rhythmic and balanced in its sequences like a verse of poetry, but often more elaborate in its scheme than any verse.  And all this time other preparations are going on. Some yarns are going through the doubling machines where two or three or more threads are being twisted together, sometimes at two or even three stages so as to produce some particular effect of colour blending — sometimes only to produce thicker or stronger threads. The twister spindles run invisibly at possibly two or three thousand revolutions per minute, putting on the turns per inch with mathematical precision according to whatever may have been decided.

"Chains " are being put together by which the automatic action of the power loom changes the shuttle colours according to the pattern of the cloth, however intricate the design may be. Other chains are being made up by which the weaving mechanism is controlled and by means of which the actual construction of the cloth is decided, apart altogether from the colour scheme it may be carrying.

And so we arrive at the point where all these diverse activities converge in the power loom. The weaver's beam is lifted in and connected to the machinery. The weaving harness with its innumerable threads, each in its little eyelet, is tied up. The warp threads are attached to the cloth beam in front of the loom. The chains for the weaving and shuttle mechanisms are placed in position. The wheels governing the number of weft threads per inch are put on. The "reed" for beating up the weft threads put across the web by the shuttles is fixed in the "lay". The different colours for the shuttles are brought from the winding frames and put into their allotted shuttles. The shuttles are placed in their proper "boxes". The power-loom tuner in charge of the gang of looms weaves through a repeat or two of the pattern, examines the work carefully along with the standard for that pattern and sees that no thread has been wrongly placed. The man in charge of the work of the power-loom shed checks everything over again and sends for the weaver who looks after that loom. The weaver pulls over the starting handle and her machine adds its part to the infernal pandemonium.

Tartan Designing

As a design, tartan is unique in that it is the only fabric in existence that can signify the interests or allegiance of the wearer by the inclusion of specifically chosen design elements. Those interests and allegiances can be family, clan, town, city, country, military, employment, hobbies, religious . . . the whole gamut of human activities and interactions in society.

Having said that, the difference between transient fashion tartans and those of more serious import needs to be clearly understood.

Fashion tartans (we possibly ought to call them 'checks') are produced purely for their visual appeal and invariably have no significance attached to any of the design elements included - apart perhaps from mirroring current colour trends.

The more serious 'real' tartans for the uses touched on above, should be aesthetically pleasing designs that incorporate unique elements of relevance to the client. Those may take the form of colours, extracts from connected historical tartans or numerical elements such as the number of lines or bands. This design approach bestows provenance on such tartans and the design rationale often dulls the clients' artistic judgement which results in many mediocre designs entering the currency!

Some technical points.

  • Tartans use a minimum of two colours and a conventional maximum of six although more can be incorporated if necessary.

  • Tartans are measured in threadcounts and an explanation can be seen at What is a threadcount

  • The minimum number of threads of any colour is usually two and conventionally the number of threads are even-numbered.

  • Tartans are usually (but not exclusively) symmetrical with the pattern (sett) repeating across the weft and along the warp as if compiled of ceramic tiles.

  • The sett (basic design tile) is normally around 4 to 5 inches (the industry is one of the few remaining bastions of imperial measures!) so the completed sett would usually comprise around 250 threads of a medium weight yarn as used in kilt-weight fabric.

  • Threadcounts are not inviolable formulae - they merely give the proportions of each colour in the design and can and would be altered by weavers depending upon the final use for the tartan. For ties and smaller articles, the sett size would be reduced. For larger articles they may be increased.

  • Except for corporate tartans where companies may insist the colours closely follow the  Pantone references of their logo, shades (but not colours) can differ between weavers.

Some examples of design rationale may be helpful:Midwives

No. 5766 Midwives.
Designed by the Scottish Tartans Authority for the Royal College of Midwives. Queen Victoria was the College's first Royal patron and this tartan has been based on the Balmoral tartan designed in 1853 by Prince Albert and,  possibly, the Queen herself. Blue is the traditional colour for the midwife and here it has been paired with grey - the College's second corporate colour. The black and white signify the night and day aspect of midwifery and the white further represents the centre-piece of the College Coat of Arms - the Star of Bethlehem . . . the sign of birth. Finally, the gold is from the ancient crown surmounting the College's coat of arms that signifies its Royal status.

No. 6819 Paul Burrell.
Designed for Princess Diana's butler Paul Burrell for personal and corporate use. The gold, blue and maroon were Paul Burrell's corporate colours. The two shades of green celebrated his appearance on the TV programme "I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of Here" The two grey lines represent his two sons and their being grey commemorates Princess Diana's description of him as her 'rock.' The asymmetric design is based on the traditional golden mean. The tartan is used on a range of promotional items marketed in the USA in the 'Royal Butler' range.
Paul Burrell


No.6989 The Financial Times.
A draft design for an FT article to demonstrate how a designer might go about his or her work. Here the designer has looked at the history of the FT and discovered that it was formed by an amalgamation of the Financial News and the Financial Times under the ownership of Brendan Bracken. An appropriate tartan for Bracken would be the Irish Tara tartan, so that's been used as the basis for the design. The black lines on the pink represent the lines of typed copy on the FT pink paper and the significance of the number of lines is the designer's joke - five being the number of toes on a FTSE.
Financial Times


No. 6807 Chinese Scottish
The Chinese Scottish tartan was originally created to signify the special relationship that exists between Scotland and China and between the Scots and the Chinese community in Scotland. The tartan incorporates the colours of the Scottish Saltire together with the red and yellow of the Chinese flag. These are interwoven with green bands to symbolise the great co-operation between Scottish and Chinese botanists in the Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh - home to the world's largest collection of Chinese plants outside China itself. The  yellow crosses the red in five places which signifies the five stars of the Chinese Flag, the biggest and brightest being represented by the yellow cross in the middle of the red.
Chinese Scottish Tartan

The Use of Colour in Tartan

by Peter Eslea MacDonald

When travelling around Highland Games or talking to people who are unfamiliar with the colour variations available for a given pattern it's not unusual to be told by someone that; '
.....our clan has three tartans, the ancient one, the modern one and a very nice muted one....' when in fact they are all one and the same tartan!  This shows the understandable misinterpretations of the terminology used by tartan manufacturers. The terms apply to a generalised ranges of shades which are used to produce variations of the same tartan. The fact that the same pattern can look completely different when produced in these different colour ranges can result in the impression that they are in fact different tartans.

The first thing that requires clarification is that the term used to describe the overall shades of a particular piece of material does not refer to the design in
any way and has no bearing on the antiquity of a pattern. The suggestion has been made that terms referring to the colours should come after the name and those which refer to the antiquity or use of the pattern e.g.; old, hunting etc, should come before the name. The idea seems logical but unfortunately it does not appear to have been widely adopted and unless applied rigidly and universally will probably lead to further confusion.

A good example of the misunderstadings that can arise can be seen with 
Old MacLachlan - modern, and MacLachlan - old: the former is the Old MacLachlan tartan in modern colours and the latter is the MacLachlan tartan in old colours. This examples shows how easily two different patterns might be assumed to be the same when in fact they aren't and how the same tartan can be construed as two different ones when presented in different colour shades.
It's important to understand that the colours used today are ALL produced using chemical dyes and that the natural dyes used until c.1855 could produce every colour and shade from light to dark depending on the type, quantity and quality of the dyestuff used and the desired effect. When using natural dyes, either industrially or rurally, it was the common practice to counterbalance the colours against each other. The main colours used in a majority of extant 18th century pieces were a combination of some or all of the following; black, blue, red and green. Reds at that time ranged from pink to scarlet and any shade of red was highly prized due to the cost of the dyestuff. When a darker red was used as a ground colour, pink was sometimes used as a guard colour to highlight stripes or to separate major ground colours in the same way as white, yellow and pale blue. The two colours that seem to have varied least were green and blue, the former usually being an olive shade whilst blue was often very dark navy. Wilsons continued to use their colours in much the same way as the earlier rural dyers with mid greens juxtaposed by reds and blues.

By the last quarter of the 18th century the famous weaving firm of
William Wilson & Sons of Bannockburn were working with large quantities of natural dyes to produce standard colours. They continued to develop these until the increasing availability of chemical dyes made natural ones uneconomic. The skill with which Wilsons produced their colours from natural dyes can still be appreciated by examining some of their many surviving specimens and studying their dye recipes. 

After the mid-19th century chemical dyes offered a cheap, quicker and easier way of obtaining standard colours, albeit often to the detriment of the original patterns where the subtleties often became obscured. Below are listed the major colour groupings and the various contemporary names applied to them throughout the weaving and dyeing industry.

Old, Ancient or Vegetable Colours
These are the mid-light shades which are supposed to represent the colours obtained in the past from natural dyes and their use dates from towards the end of the first half of the last century. Whether they were a result of a movement against the dark shades of modern colours or designed by the Trade to increase their range and thereby commercial success, is unclear. There is a story to the effect that shortly after the war someone was seen wearing a kilt at one of the Highland games where the original modern colours of the cloth had faded by use and exposure to the elements into what we would now call old colours. The author has demonstrated this process by placing a piece of cloth in modern colours under glass in direct sunlight with half the sample covered. Over a period of about 18 months the section in the light faded out towards the ancient range. In general, however, old/ancient colours do not reflect the shades obtained from the natural dyes which were used in old tartans. They are far too insipid in comparison and have a uniform paleness unrepresentative of the old Highland specimens. The term old/ancient colours have no bearing on the age of the particular pattern which they describe and it is therefore possible to have a recent tartan woven in old colours and called ancient. A good example is the
Ancient Atlantic tartan which was designed in the 1970's.

Modern or Ordinary Colours
The early aniline or chemical dyes were a byproduct of the coal and chemical industries, the first of which,
Perkin's Purple, was produced in 1856. This was quickly followed by the other commonly used chemical colours. Although cheap and easy to use, these dyes did not have the subtlety and versatility of those they replaced and as a result, the shades that they produced were very strong and dark. It was by using these shades that the Black Watch tartan as worn by the military today, became so dark as to be almost black. Once the use of natural dyes ceased, these aniline colours continued to be used as the common shades until the invention of 'Old Colours'. Indeed, the Ministry of Defence still specifies the exact shades of the colours to be used in military tartans and thereby maintains the myth of their dark origins in the face of extant specimens of the early 19th century which are woven in the middle range shades of Wilsons.

When put together, the modern shades of blue, black and green give an overall dark appearance and tend to obscure the actual pattern. Ironically, some of these shades, especially the reds and blues, are quite good matches to the shades obtained from natural dyes and frequently used in 18th century rural tartans. There is at least one example in which the blue, green and black are all dark and which by contemporary parlance would be classified as modern colours. However, the use of such uniform dark colours does seem to be have been the exception rather than the rule during that period.

Muted Colours
These are of fairly recent origin, c. early 1970's, they fall somewhere between the old and modern colour ranges and are the best commercial match to the overall shades of natural dyes prior to 1855. Once again the problem with these shades is that they are of a uniform hue and therefore inconsistent with the old practice of counter balancing shades.

Reproduction & Weathered Colours
Although slightly different to each other, these two ranges are used by different weavers for roughly the same colours. The term
'Reproduction' is restricted to those patterns produced by D.C. Dalgliesh Ltd, Selkirk, who were the originators of this range. The story surrounding the origin of these colours is very romantic but of questionable accuracy! The story has it that a piece of tartan was dug up in the 1950's at the Culloden battlefield and after 200 years buried in the peat, the colours had become very drab, hence the term 'weathered'. Unfortunately the firm who gave us Reproduction colours has been unable to provide the necessary provenance and the 'original specimen' is untraceable. The main difference with the Reproduction shades is that the usual blues become slate blue; black a less intense charcoal black; red a deeper shade and green a sort of kakhi. In the Weathered range the blue become grey and green becomes brown.

Natural Dyes 
Until the latter part of the 18th century there was a great deal of variation in the shades produced from natural dyes. This was due to the individual production constraints and techniques available in the rural Highlands, for example, the size of dye vessels and the availability of raw dye materials.
As a result of the failure of the '45 Jacobite Rising,  tartan and Highland dress were proscribed for a period of 35 years .....
in that part of North Briton called Scotland (Act for the More Effective Disarming of the Highlands, 1746) i.e. the Highlands. That the traditional skills were not completely lost is evidenced by the survival of a number of plaids dated during the mid-1770's. In much of the country however the skills needed to spin, dye and weave tartan seem to have disappeared completely during this period.

The Clan System
One of a series of seven articles by Brian Wilton reproduced here by kind permission of the House of Edgar, Perth.

'Clan' is the Gaelic for 'family' and clans belonged to the Highlands. In simple terms, clan society evolved from the earlier Celtic tribal society. Each clan had its own land-owning chief who leased it out to 'tacksmen' who then rented it to the tenant farmers within the clan. In return for this and the protection afforded by the Chief, the clansmen would pledge their allegiance and when called upon, would turn out to fight in the Chief's private army. A very early observer of the Celts, the famous Greek geographer Strabo (circa 50BC - 24AD) wrote of them "The whole race which is now called Celtic or Gallic is madly fond of war, high spirited and quick to battle but otherwise straightforward and not of evil character. And so when they are stirred up they assemble in their bands for battle, quite openly and without forethought; so that they are easily handled by those who desire to outwit them."

They were said to be brave and impetuous in attack but became demoralised quickly by failure and often suffered defeat through their own indiscipline. It's written that even the mere provocation of a drunken insult was hardly necessary to start a fight, since warfare was one of their major pastimes, and if they lacked the stimulus of a foreign enemy they were perfectly content to battle among themselves!

It's no surprise then, that in 80AD when the Roman general Gnaeus Julius Agricola set out to conquer the Celts in Britain, the famous Roman chronicler Tacitus commented
'fortune can give no greater boon than discord among our foes.'  With a reported 21 different tribes in Scotland at that time, there was obviously plenty scope for such internal dissension. Such a genetic legacy was to keep the country in turmoil for almost two millennia and was the cornerstone of the clan system in that unique Land of the Celts - the Scottish Highlands. Indeed, so extensive has been that inherited baggage that many of we modern Celts are still dragging some of it around with us! 

To the Celts,
'the boar personified the divine spirit of courage, strength and sexual prowess' and today this emblem can be seen in many clan crests, arms and banners — Campbell, Chisholm, Ferguson, Gordon, Innes, Lockhart, MacIver, MacKinnon, Nisbet, Rose, MacKintosh, Swinton, Urquhart and Weir. Historian and prolific author, the late Ian Grimble talks of one of the strangest examples of the longevity of Celtic belief and custom which was the cult of the human head. "It is typical" he said "of the paradoxical behaviour of these combative but sensitive people that they venerated the human head as the repository of wisdom and virtue, and yet debased this concept by the practice of head-hunting." Today's badges for the MacNabs, Menzies and Muirs all feature severed heads and in many clan atrocities over the years, severed heads are a central feature.

Like the boar, the mare, the cat and even the wolf were also ancient pagan symbols of superhuman power perpetuated by the Celts.  The origins and early affinities of many of today's clans can be seen in their clan badges: the dominant clan amongst the
Children of the Cat were the Mackintoshes whose motto is "Touch not the cat bot a glove" (touch not the cat without a glove) and no less than four other clans share that motto — Chattan, Gow, MacBain and MacPherson.

It is generally accepted that the structure of Scottish society - and therefore the clan system - underwent a major change in the 11th century. The second marriage of King Malcolm III (1058-93) was to the Saxon Princess Margaret, granddaughter of the English King, Edmund Ironside. Queen Margaret was a devout Catholic and under her influence at court, Catholicism burgeoned, the ancient Celtic church was sidelined and the King adopted southern customs. One of these was English feudalism under which the land became the property of the King who could then distribute it at his will to those who supported and protected him. This was diametrically opposed to the Celtic Patriarchal system under which the land had belonged to the tribes.

The changing distribution of clan names is evidence of the cost of backing the wrong horse!  It could mean that your clan was scattered to the winds with the victors picking over your land holdings and sharing them out to their cronies. The poor MacSweens once owned huge tracts of land, north, south and west of Lochgilphead in Argyll, only to have them confiscated by Robert the Bruce when they sided with his enemies. Today the  main concentrations of MacSweens are said to be on the tiny island of Scalpay in the Outer Hebrides. Clan Campbell and Clan Donald both supported Robert the Bruce and were amply rewarded and those MacSweens who remained in Argyll, became vassals to the Campbells. Such then was the ebb and flow of clan fortunes which was replicated throughout the Highlands of Scotland.

When events dispersed clans, and deportations and enforced clearances scattered clansmen to various corners of the New World, clanship as such was often replaced with a wider, more fervent and often melancholic love of their birthplace. Clans put aside their differences and worked together against the vicissitudes of their adopted - and often primitive - country.  Their values, their enthusiasm, their work ethic, all helped them thrive and the landscapes of their adopted countries are liberally sprinkled with names to remind them of their homeland.

Scottish humorist, the late Cliff Hanley, perceptively wrote that when an emigrant Scot reached the  three mile territorial limit, his skin turned tartan! Distance and absence certainly makes the heart grow fonder and has been responsible over the generations for the establishment around the world of many hundreds of cultural, social and charitable Scottish organisations: clan and family associations, Burns Clubs, pipe bands, Caledonian and St. Andrews Societies,  Highland games, Scottish Country dance clubs, re-enactment societies . . . . a global web of invisible strands of kinship reaching back through time and space to the beloved 'old country'.


Cairns *
Campbell of Breadalbane
Campbell of Cawdor
Cargill *
Cathcart *
Cunningham Currie (MacVurich)*

Duncan *
Fraser of Lovat
Galloway *
Gow *
Haliburton *
Hall *
Hope *

MacArthur *
MacCallum (Malcolm)
Maclaine (of Lochbuie)
MacMicking *

Smith *
Stewart of Appin

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Clan Fergusson

The Fergusson or Ferguson tartan which is now generally worn, dates from before 1850, when it was reproduced by Thomas Smibert in his book "The clans of the Highlands of Scotland" It can be manufactured in lighter shades styled by the tailors "Ancient" as well as the darker colours. However the cut is the same.

Motto: Dulcius ex aspersis - "Sweeter out of difficulties".
Badge: A bee atop a thistle.

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Clan Forbes

Although there is great doubt as to the Celtic or at least Gaelic origin of the Forbes clan, it was one of the most powerful and influential of the northern clans.

Motto: "Grace me Guide".
Badge: A stag's head.

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Clan Campbell

The name Campbell is undoubtedly one of considerable antiquity and the clan has long been one of the most numerous and powerful in the Highlands, although many families have adopted the name who have no connection with the Campbells proper by blood or descent. The Argyll family became latterly so powerful, that many smaller clans were absorbed in it voluntarily or compulsorily and assumed in course of time its peculiar designation. The origin of the name, as well as of the founder of the family, remains still a matter of the greatest doubt. The attempt to deduce the family from the half-mythical King Arthur of course is mere trifling.

Motto: Ne obliviscaris - "Forget not"
Badge: A boar's head.

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Clan Bruce

BRUCE, or as it was anciently written, BRUS, the name of a family of Norman descent, which became one of the most illustrious in the annals of Scotland.

Motto: Fuimus - "We have been".
Badge: Depicts a lion.

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Clan Cammeron

The Camerons or clan Chameron belong to the district comprehended under the old Maormordom of Moray. According to John Major, the clan Cameron and the clan Chattan had a common origin, and for a certain time followed one chief; but for this statement there appears to be no foundation.

Motto: "Aonaibh Ri Cheile" (Unite)
Badge: A sheaf of five arrows.

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clan Chattan

The first Clan Chattan Association was established in 1727 with the aim of watching and defending the interests of the clan 'against all who would seek the injury of any of its subscribers'. It might be seen as an unsuccessful attempt to recast the clan in modern form.

Motto: "Touch not the cat without a glove".
Badge: A rearing wild cat.

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Clan Fraser

There is hunting Fraser, which has a brown ground, and is usually worn during the day, and dress Fraser, which has a red ground and is worn in the evening. These are easily obtainable from most suppliers.

There is a range of Fraser Gathering tartans, designed for the Gathering at Castle Fraser in 1997, one with a green ground for day wear and two dress tartans, one with a red ground and one with a white ground. These were designed by Macnaughtons of Pitlochry in conjunction with Lady Saltoun , unfortunately Macnaughtons no longer seem to stock them.

Motto for Clan Fraser: All my Hope is in God.
Crest: On amount a flourish of strawberries leaved and fructed Proper
Badge: A fraise Argent

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Clan Douglas

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Clan Gordon

The Gordons are one of the oldest and most illustrious of the historical families of Scotland, and from the twelfth century down to the present day have taken a very prominent part in public affairs

The Royal Tartans

The vast majority of tartans are modern and do not pre-date the Battle of Culloden in 1746. Few of those connected with the Royal Household today date back further than the reign of Queen Victoria, but it is appropriate to record some historical information about those turbulent times.

The Royal House of Stewart or Stuart, the "High Stewards" of Scotland can be traced back to a Breton nobleman in 1097. Later, when the reign of
James V ended in 1542, the direct male line of the Stewarts failed, but the succession continued through Mary Queen of Scots to James VI (VI of Scotland and I of England) who died in 1625. On the death of Prince Charles Edward (Bonnie Prince Charlie) in 1788 and his brother Prince Henry Cardinal Duke of York (d. 1807), the male line ended. The House of Stewart continued down the female line to Queen Victoria and onward to our Royal Family today.

The Jacobite risings and the subsequent exile of
Prince Charles Edward Stuart in 1746 after Culloden nearly caused the disappearance of Scottish tartans altogether but the continued use of them by the regiments, and the interest in them of the Hanoverian court at the end of the 18th Century, followed by the visit of George IV to Edinburgh in 1822, did much to preserve the wearing of Tartans and Highland Dress.

Tradition has it that those who have no tartan of their own can wear the
Black Watch (The Universal or Government Tartan) or the Hunting Stewart, but not the Royal Stewart without the express authority of the Queen. However, commercialisation in recent times has rather blurred this. The one tartan which cannot be worn by anyone unless the Queen's permission has been granted is the Balmoral.

The Monarch and immediate family.

BALMORAL - This tartan was designed by Queen Victoria's husband. Prince Albert in 1853 and, while predominantly grey with overchecks of red and black the background contains a thread of black and white yarns twisted together to achieve the appearance of the rough hewn granite so familiar in Royal Deeside. It is worn by HM Queen herself as a skirt and several members of the Royal Family but only with the Queen's permission. The only other approved wearer of the Balmoral Tartan is the Queen's personal piper. (The Estate workers and Ghillies wear the Balmoral Tweed).

STEWART HUNTING - worn by the Queen when "off duty" and during moments of relaxation. A most popular tartan with surprisingly little history as to when it was designed but also worn by HM King George VI and HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother when she was Queen.

STEWART OLD - Also worn by the Queen on holiday at Royal Deeside and also favoured by the late HM Queen Mother. A distinctive tartan it originally belonged to the Stewarts of the Western Highlands.

STEWART ROYAL - Probably the most well known tartan world wide today and the basis of many of the Stewart Tartans.

STEWART DRESS - The Dress version of Royal Stewart with the predominant red squares replaced by white. Worn by the female members of the Royal family often for evening occasions but also worn for Dress occasions by HRH Duke of Edinburgh, HRH Prince of Wales and HRH Prince Edward.

STEWART VICTORIA - Known to have been favoured by Queen Victoria who had an extra red line inserted to the Dress Stewart, and used it for curtains and furnishings at Balmoral.

KING GEORGE VI - A dark green version of Royal Stewart was woven for King George IV in 1819. A version named the Green Stewart with a lighter green ground was woven especially for King George VI.

The Prince of Wales, HRH Prince Charles, has been a staunch supporter of the Kilt and wears a number of tartans linked with titles he holds.

LORD OF THE ISLES HUNTING - HRH is often to be seen in this tartan when he visits Scotland and holds the title Lord of the Isles. Commercially it will appear in darker colours of green than those worn by the Prince.

ROTHESAY HUNTING - The Prince of Wales is also Duke of Rothesay and wears the Hunting version.

The Prince wears many of the Royal Tartans most notably the Balmoral. A non Royal tartan he has also worn is the Gordon Tartan in his capacity as Colonel in Chief of the Gordon Highlanders Regiment.

The Second son of the Monarch, the Duke of York holds the Scottish title, the
Earl of Inverness, and, from Victorian times always followed a career in the Royal Navy. The title was first given to the sixth son of George III, HRH Prince Augustus Frederick who was also Duke of Sussex in 1801. In several of the following generations the second son held the title of Duke of York, Earl of Inverness and Baron Killarney and were, the son of Edward VII (later George V), the son of George V (later George VI), and the son of HM Queen Elizabeth II (Prince Andrew).The Balmoral tartan

INVERNESS - the Inverness Tartan has a red background and the Inverness Hunting, a preferred version by George V, has a navy ground.

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The Royal Princesses
PRINCESS ELIZABETH  - so named in the 1930's but is, in fact, the Inverness tartan.

PRINCESS MARGARET ROSE - designed for the late Princess Margaret in the 1930's.

PRINCESS BEATRICE - designed for Queen Victoria's youngest child.

PRINCESS MARY - based on Royal Stewart with a dark green ground in place of Red.

PRINCESS LOUISE - designed for Princess Louise. In 1881 the 91st regiment was linked with the 93rd as a territorial one and named as Princess Louise's Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. Princess Louise was one of Queen Victoria's daughters.

Other Royal Tartans
STRATHEARN  - first made for the Duke of Kent, Queen Victoria's father.

EARL of ST. ANDREWS - Worn by the present Earl, son of the Duke of Kent.

DUCHESS of  KENT  - designed in 1934 for the Duchess.

PRINCE REGENT - designed for George IV and originally called MacLaren.

VICTORIA BLUE  - one of the many versions linked to Queen Victoria,

STEWART BLACK & WHITE - also known as "Mourning Stewart".

PRINCE CHARLES EDWARD - several tartans are linked with Prince Charles Edward but the best known is a version of Royal Stewart with the larger area of red reduced. Another is a design reconstructed from fragments of a plaid given to the Countess of Eglinton by Bonnie Prince Charlie after the battle of Culloden. There are numerous other tartans with which he is linked including Drummond of Perth, MacDonald of Kingsburgh and MacDonald of Keppoch

How to Wear a Kilt

The first thing that you need to do in order to be comfortable in a great kilt is to know the difference between the different kilts. There are kilts that are sewn and draped and there are ones that are sewn with pleats. When you have a sewn kilt, you will have to know how to wear it for comfort and style.

First you should close the kilt by taking the right side apron through the hole of the left buckle and adhering it to the left buckle. Fasten the left apron to the right and the fringed edge and kilt pin should be to the right. You should make sure that your Kilt falls to the center of the knee. It should sit on your natural waist also.

Make sure that the pleats are at the back of the Kilt and strap the sporran at least three fingers below the
belt. The strap will fasten in the back of the Kilt. You should also wear the kilt hose folded with two to three fingers below the knee. The kilt flashes on the outside of the leg will cover the strap with the fold of the sock.

There are a few tips that can also be associated with the Kilt as well. A plain white shirt will make the best fashion look with the Kilt. They are also used all over the world for weddings, funerals, and special events. It is also a good idea to always wear something under the Kilt. Never go completely bare under there. The wind can pick up at any moment and will leave all of you free for the world to see.

You may even want to use a pin or special tie to ensure that the kilt will stay closed even in the highest winds. Kilts are worn by all kinds of people for all different reasons. A lot of them are worn because of a special group or event. It is a good idea to understand this way of dress so that you do not offend anyone by wearing it wrong.

Many Kilts are worn in parades around the world. There are a lot of bands that include a kilt in their dress code. This is especially nice when the group performs and plays the bagpipes. This is a great addition to any group or event. Many marching bands will incorporate this popular look into their routine and will make their band well known for this reason.

A traditional Scottish kilt is made with 8 yards of material - always 100 percent wool. It should sit high on the waist, with the bottom edge at the centre of the knee. Eight - yard kilts weigh a heavy 6 pounds and swing rhythmically when marching or dancing. Casual and traditional kilts are generally acceptable at both formal and informal events. Sporrans are usually made of plain leather for day wear. Sporrans made from animal furs are popular for evening wear.

The Original Kilt
The feileadh mor was a longer untailored garment, around five metres in length, which was gathered and then belted at the waist to provide cover for both the upper and lower body. From the waist down, the feileadh mor resembled a modern kilt while the remaining material above the waist was draped over the shoulder and pinned there.

The Kilt Evolves
The feileadh mor was simplified by disposing of its top half, leaving the belt and the skirt below. This was reputedly at the behest of an Englishman running an ironworks at Invergarry who felt his kilted employees needed a greater freedom of movement to do their work. The upper half of the big kilt evolved into the separate plaid (or sash) which is now worn at more formal events.

Proscription and Survival
Following the Jacobite defeat at Culloden in 1746, the kilt and other aspects of Highland dress were outlawed and its continued survival during these years was largely due to its adoption by Highland regiments serving with the British army.

Styles of Kilt Wear
Today most Scotsmen see kilts as formal dress or ceremonial dress. They are often worn at weddings or other formal occasions, while there are still a few people who wear them daily. Kilts are also used for parades by groups like the Scouts, and in many places kilts are seen in force at Highland games and pipe band championships as well as being worn at Scottish country dances and ceilidhs.

Kilts have become normal wear for formal occasions, for example being hired for weddings, and the kilt is being worn by anyone regardless of nationality or descent. Although a white tie style exists, the more common style of formal Highland regalia is seen in black tie.

Highland Dress
for Women

At the risk of being accused of gender bias, it has to be said that in Highland Dress, the human species seems to have reverted to Nature's simple ways with the male being dressed in multi-coloured splendour and the poor female being relegated to a relatively drab role. The wearing of a bulky kilt is not the most flattering of fashion items for women and with the loss of that centrepiece of Highland Dress, the choice of traditional day wear is severely limited. When it comes to 'evening dress' the situation improves fairly dramatically with the availability of Tartan sashes.

Highland women wore something very similar to the men's plaid called the earasaid, the English form of which is arisaid. (pr: arisade). It was much finer and longer than the plaid and reached down to the ground and would be worn over a thick, long-sleeved petticoat. The arisaid was usually white with larger and brighter patterns than the men's.

A woman would pleat the arisaid just like the man pleated his plaid. She would then fix it around her waist with a belt and wrap the spare material around her shoulders and fix it with a pin in the front. There was usually enough material left to form a hood that could be pulled up in bad weather. On top of the arisaid she would often wear a tartan shawl called a tonnag. The arisaid was warm and comfortable and was excellent for wrapping up babies and keeping them cosy against their mother's body.

It's said that some women would doze off in church hidden inside the arisaid hood which upset the clergymen so much so that some of them tried to stop women wearing it at all.

A married woman wore a kertch (in Gaelic - breid caol. ) This was made of linen and was like a modern headsquare: it was rolled from one corner into the middle and the thick band which was made was put round the head and pinned into the hair to stop it falling down. The remaining triangular piece of linen would hang down onto the neck. Women who weren't married wore what was called a snood (Gaelic - stiom. ) which was a length of ribbon which passed under the girl's hair at the back of her head, and was tied in a bow on top. A married woman's hair would often be curled in locks, tied with ribbons and allowed to hang down on her cheeks. Some women wore a 'mutch' which was a frilled bonnet. At one time, a fashionable lady might have worn pleated stockings called 'osain'. These made her legs look like big tubes.

Plaid brooches
The brooch used to pin a woman's arin said would usually be made of gold, silver or brass and, just like the men's silver buttons, were frequently passed down from mother to daughter. The brooches were often engraved with patterns or illustrations of animals.

Luckenbooths were heart-shaped brooches usually given as tokens of love. They were called luckenbooth because they were sold in jewellers' "locked booths" situated near St Giles Kirk in Edinburgh. They were also known as
Queen Mary Brooches and were said to have been pinned to the shawl of every new born girl. The engraving on the back of the brooches seems to prove that they were tokens of love and two such inscriptions were:

Женский килт лазурныйМодель: «Лазурный».

Женский килт горная

Модель: «Горная».

Highland Dress
for Men

The Belted Plaid
As late as the middle of the 16th century, the commonest dress for men in the Highlands was said to be the leine - a volumnous saffron shirt comprising more than 20 metres of material.   That was gradually replaced by the belted plaid - in Gaelic it was the Fйileadh mуr (pronounced feela more) - the big kilt. This was a long rectangle of tartan measuring about 1.35m wide by about 5.5m. long. It was really two very narrow strips sewn together because the Highland loom only made cloth up to 70cm wide.
Traditionally, the story has been that to wear it, a Highlander would lay his broad leather belt on the ground and then lay the plaid on top of it. He would pleat or bunch the lower end of it and lie down so that the edge reached between the middle of his thighs and his knees.Then he would pull the flat bits of the plaid around his waist forming a kind of skirt and fasten the belt.  When he stood up, the bottom part of the plaid would look almost like today's kilt and the spare material would hang from his waist down to the ground. 
Then he would gather up the spare material, bunch it around his waist and hang the spare end over his shoulder. To keep it in place he would fix it to his shirt or jacket with a large silver bodkin ( a kind of pin) or a round brooch often decorated with precious stones.
The Belted Plaid as painted by Robert McIan. The clansman is a Drummond.

This method of donning the great kilt would be all very well given sufficient space and time. However, frequently he would have  neither and it's fairly certain that he would have had some belt loops sewn into the inside of this great plaid so that he could put it on a hurry when the Redcoats were hammering down the front door of his croft or Black house. See Jamie Scarlett's article on the The Belted Plaid

Regardless of how he got it on, the Highlander would find his belted plaid was very comfortable to wear and very practical since it could be pulled up over the head in bad weather and used as a cape. It was also very valuable when he was travelling and had to sleep in the open air at night. He would take off the plaid, lay it on the ground and wrap it around himself or just curl up in it as in the illustration so that it acted as a mattress and a duvet.

It was reported that in very bad weather - high winds, frost or snow - the Highlander would dip his plaid in water and then lie down in it. We're told that wetting it like that made the wool swell so that the plaid would give better protection against the wind and cold air. Wrapped up like this with his head under the blanket, the Highlander's breath would then create a warm and moist atmosphere around him which would keep him cosy during the night! As you can imagine, if the poorer Highlanders worked and slept in their plaids they must have been pretty smelly as reported in 1726 in a letter from Captain Burt, an English engineer. " . . . the plaid serves the ordinary people for a cloak by day and bedding at night . . . it imbibes so much perspiration that no one day can free it from the filthy smell . . ."

For the modern remnants of the Belted Plaid see Long Plaid and Small Plaid at the end of this article.

Highlanders were out in all sorts of weather, bare legged and frequently bare-footed and one of the names given to them was Redshankes - shanks is an old word for legs and the red legs were caused by exposure to the winds, rains and snows of the Highlands. In 1543 a Highland priest called John Elder wrote a fairly detailed letter on the subject to Henry VIII.  

In 1688 the Governor of the Isle of Man wrote a description of Highlanders: "Their thighs are bare, with brawny muscles . . . a thin brogue on the foot, a short buskin of various colours on the legg, tied above the calf with a striped pair of garters. What should be concealed is hid with a large shot-pouch, on each side of which hangs a pistol and a dagger. A round target on their backs, a blew bonnet on their heads, and in one hand a broad sword and a musquet in the other."

The Small Kilt
The beginnings of the small kilt - the one which is worn in modern times - has caused lots of arguments over the years. There are many people who like to think that something so Scottish has to be really ancient but it is generally agreed that the little kilt (
Feileadh-beag - pr: feela beg ) is really quite modern having first become popular about 270 years ago.

One of the commonest tales is that it came about in the 1730s at an ironworks at Glengarry in Argyll. The manager there was an Englishman called Thomas Rawlinson who wore the kilt himself and noticed the inconvenience of being unable to remove the top half when it became soaking wet with rain, without having to take the bottom part off as well. So he separated the top half and got a tailor to sew the pleats permanently into the bottom half. The Chief of Glengarry - Iain MacDonell - saw this, thought it a great idea and copied it.

There are of course other explanations and the truth of the matter probably is that the small kilt developed in various places over a period of years but no-one thought to document its evolution - apart from in the case of Thomas Rawlinson.  The objections that many Scottish historians have made - vehement at times -  usually seem to revolve around the fact that it was an Englishman  (Shock . . . Horror!!!) who seems to have been credited with it - a regrettable example of jingoism trying to overturn history perhaps!Trews as worn by Campbell of Argyle (McIan painting). Notice that the trews are of the same tartan as the rest of the outfit.


For many hundreds of years, the better-off in Scottish society wore trews (triubhas pronounced troovash). These were very tight trousers - a bit like thick ladies' tights - usually worn when horse riding or in the winter when kilts were a bit draughty. Some ordinary Highlanders also wore trews according to observers at that time.

In 1637 it was reported that "In the sharp winter weather the Highland men wear close trowzes which cover the thighs, legs and feet. To fence their feet they put on rullions or tan leather shoes."
(close - tight, fence - protect, tan - undressed hide)


The Sporran
Since Highlanders didn't have any pockets in their kilt they needed something to carry their bits and pieces in - including the lead shot for their muskets - and the earliest sporran was a plain draw-string bag of cloth or thin leather that was hung around the waist. More affluent Highlanders decorated their sporrans with a silver top and tassels.

As time went on the sporrans became even fancier and by the late 1800s the sporan molach or hair sporran appeared — made of animal skins such as otter, badger, goat and seal. In Victorian times the sporrans got so huge and fancy that they almost covered the front of the kilt.

Кожаный спорран с кроличьим мехом

Тесненный leather спорран with the rabbit fur and chromeplated by metal inserts. The complete set includes a chain.

Кожаный спорран с цепочкой

Leather спорран with a chain.

Тесненный кожаный спорран

Тесненный leather спорран.

Кожаный спорран

Leather sporran


Кожаный спорран Rob Roy

Leather sporran Rob Roy

Кожаный спорран Jacobean

Leather sporran Jacobean

Кожаный спорран Gleneagle

Leather sporran Gleneagle

Кожаный спорран с кельтским теснением

Leather спорран with кельтским теснением and the seal fur outside. The complete set includes a chain.

Most Highlanders went around in bare feet but when they started wearing stockings, they were made of cloth and not knitted like modern ones. The pattern was usually a red and white check which was called cath dath (pr: kaa dah) - war pattern. There was no elastic in those days and to keep the socks up the Highlander originally would tie some plaited hay or straw around the top. As time passed garters were woven on a special small loom and got a lot fancier. They were about a metre long and ended in a special knot called the Sniomh Gartain (pr: snaime garshtan) This knot was said to be a bit like that on a tie. Even with the fancy garters those old diced hose were pretty shapeless and fell down frequently if you didn't have a good sized calf muscle and they were eventually replaced by knitted stockings which clung to the legs much better.

Kilt Hose

by Colin Hutcheson

     Knitting had been done by hand for centuries before an out of work clergyman from Nottinghamshire - the Reverend William Lee - having watched his wife's expertise with the needles, invented the first knitting machine in1589. The Industry became established in Scotland in the 17th Century and was strong in Haddington where the
New Mills Company was established in 1681.  Stocking making also took place in many other parts of Scotland in the mid 1700’s including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dumfries, Aberdeen and even in Stonehaven from where, as history relates, two stockingmakers participated in the 1745 Jacobite uprising. 1771 saw it well established in the Scottish Borders.

It is hard for us today to imagine how important stockings were all those years ago but, because of the nature of dress in those days - breeches were worn widely by men -  and the far greater use of them after the
Battle of Culloden and the subsequent “de-kilting Act,” the demand for stockings was huge. Before knitting was invented, hose was made from the tartan cloth that was woven for trews - the sett being smaller than that used in weaving for kilts. The cloth would be cut on the bias so that it had some elasticity and with being rotated through 90 degrees, the hose would display the telltale diamond pattern that we now call Argyle.

There is an interesting tale concerning tartan hose and the MacRaes of Conchra, who on their way to the Battle of Sheriffmuir from Kintail in 1715 stopped at a shieling (a simple hut used by a cowherd) for the night and, finding a web of tartan fabric, fashioned stockings for themselves prior to the battle. The tartan may be described as consisting of squares of sapphire blue and white, a line of yellow passing through the former and one of red through the latter. Throughout most of the 18th Century hose was made to measure from woven material and in 1773 the Black Watch acquired 720 yards of plaiding which, woven on a 27inch width, was apparently sufficient for 960 pairs. Argyle hose top.Tartan hose top.

  Hose has been worn down through the years and indeed up to the present day by all the Regiments. Invariably “Diced Hose” was worn in Red/Black or Red/White dicing, usually as “hose tops” where the heel and foot were missing and ordinary socks could be worn underneath with “gaiters” covering the join. This provided a much needed economy measure. In Ministry of Defence terminology these are called “Diced Hose, Footless”. Incidentally those knitted “mittens” without fingers worn by the Band members and greatly important in cold weather are called “mittens, musicians …….”.

  Full length diced stockings (that is - complete with feet!) were worn usually by officers and sergeants at Mess nights and for Regimental Balls. Tartan hose tops (not diced hose tops) in designs matching their own tartan would often be worn by Regimental Pipers. Tartan hose was of course widely worn by civilians to match their kilts and this extended more recently to Argyle Sweaters - often produced for golfers such as the Pringle sweaters made famous by golf champion Nick Faldo. For boys, stockings were often made with only the turned over top rendered in tartan.Diced hose. Red & Black

Argyle hose are a simplified version of tartan hose where the pattern is too intricate to replicate exactly. It became more usual (and sometimes more pleasing to the eye) if the tartan design was imitated but not copied exactly.


Tartan hose - split diamonds. Henderson Ancient

Hose – full length stockings
Hose tops – footless, from turnover to ankle only
Diced Hose – normally two colours only but with marl
Argyle – pattern designed to imitate a tartan
Raker – technical term for criss-crossing line on tartan design
Split diamonds – where the large diamond is split into two colours to add more variety to the design
Diamond within a diamond  – small diamond superimposed in the centre on the large diamond.
Marl – two threads of the basic colours twisted together, can be single marl or double.


Diced hose top. Red & Black


Tartan hose. Fancy diamond within a diamond.Diced hose top. Green & Red (Seaforth Highlanders)


Diced hose top. Red & White (Black Watch)


Argyle hose using different marls.

Diced hose top. Blue & Tan

As you read above, shoes were not worn very often by the poorer Highlander but when they were, they were pretty rough! The Highlander would wrap a piece of deer skin or cowhide around each foot and hold it on with strips of narrow leather called thonging. . You would think that shoes were supposed to keep the feet dry, but the Highlander's shoes were not waterproof - especially when they went tramping through burns and rivers so they cut holes in them to let the water out! These simple deerskin shoes or brogan (pr: brogan ) are the forerunners of today's brogues where the decoration is an outer layer of leather in which holes have been punched.

It has been suggested - fancifully perhaps - that the word moccasin possibly had its roots in Scotland. The word comes from the American Indian mockasin which the Indians may have got from early Scottish settlers speaking in Gaelic and refering to their shoes as mo chasan (my footwear).

Captain Burt whom we read of a little bit earlier, had something to say about the Highlander's shoes: "They are often barefoot, but some I have seen shod with a kind of pumps made out of a raw cow hide with the hair turned outward. They are not only offensive to the sight, but intolerable to the smell of those who are near them. By the way, they cut holes in their brogues though new made, to let out the water when they have far to go, and rivers to pass; thus they do to prevent their feet from galling." (becoming sore).

To read another interesting letter about shoes written to Henry VIII in 1543, read Reddshanks.

A Highlander's leather belt was usually made of cowhide and was 80 to 100 mms wide with a brass or silver buckle. If a Highlander was on a long trip and was short of food, he would tighten his belt which made his stomach feel less empty. Some belts were reported as being highly decorated with silver ornaments intermixed with the leather like a chain. The better-off had even more ornate belts and sometimes the end that went through the buckle would be metal or silver that was highly engraved and decorated with fine stones or pieces of red corral.

Many writings mention the Highlanders' bonnet - Boineid (pr: bonaje) which came to be called the Tam o' Shanter. This was knitted or made of cloth and was worn tight around the brow and very loose on top with a toorie for decoration - a bobble or pompom. Bonnets were mostly blue but were also made in brown and grey. In time it became smaller and was known as the Balmoral - boinead biorach (pr: bonaje beerach) which sometimes had a diced band (checked like a chess or draughts board) and the toorie on top. The ribbons at the back were for adjusting the headband so that it fitted all head sizes. Tradition has it that in the army, Lowlanders (those Scots who live south of the Highlands) let the ribbons hang free whilst Highlanders would tie them in a bow.

Over the years, some wearers of the Balmoral wore it puffed up on the head and then creased it down the middle. This produced a new style of hat called the Glengarry. By late Victorian times almost all the British Army wore this type of hat when they were in their working uniforms. The 'tradition' that the number of eagle feathers worn in a hat showed a man's standing in his clan is a Victorian invention probably copied from the American Indians.

For another detailed description of the Highlanders by the English Captain Burt - one of Marshal Wade's road building engineers in the 1720s - read Captain Burt.

Highlanders were said to be suspicious of money and preferred to carry what wealth they had in the form of jewellery and embellishments to their weapons. Solid silver buttons were one of their favourites and these would often be passed down from father to son. If the Highlander died away from home, it was important to him that he had enough valuables with him that would pay for a good funeral and a headstone.

Long Plaid
This is a full length plaid which consists of approximately three and a half yards of  54inch wide tartan (3.2 metres x 137cms) with the ends fringed. In Scotland this plaid is worn almost exclusively by pipers in Pipe Bands, either civilian or Regimental. It is very rarely worn by the individual as it is rather clumsy to wear.
Its origin in history was that the long plaid was the upper part of the kilt or feile mor which was used to cover the head and shoulders in bad weather. When not in use it was wrapped around the body of gathered on either shoulder at the back to prevent impeding the movements of the arms as much as possible.

Small Plaid
This is a small plaid which is made from approximately 2 yards of 54 inch material (1.8 metres x 137 cms) which is fringed all round and has a corner piece to allow it to be fastened at the left shoulder. This is a modified form of plaid which was designed to take the place of the long plaid when used for evening wear. You can imagine that a person would have great difficulty in enjoying an evening's dancing at a Highland Ball with a long plaid wrapped around the body. Another obvious example of its use is once again referring to Pipe Bands, where you find the drummers having the belted plaid as against the pipers wearing the long plaid. The drummers require plenty of freedom for their arms and a long plaid would impede that. Plaids are quite independent of the kilt these days.

Kilt Passports

The Kilt Passport is an exciting initiative from the Scottish Tartans Authority designed to chart the life and times of each and every traditional kilt made and sold by its Members.

Why a Kilt Passport?
Culturally and sartorially, the traditional Scottish kilt is a unique garment that enjoys ever-increasing worldwide popularity. A traditional kilt is a major purchase and frequently lasts for more than a lifetime — unlike trousers which can be lightly discarded when worn out or when fashions change.

From this, it follows that each kilt has a unique history that marks the major events in the owner's life- perhaps backpacking in Europe or first worn at the wedding, then perhaps a christening, maybe an international rugby or football match, visits to major Highland games and then who knows . . . to the Palace for an honours presentation!

Such history deserves to be preserved and passed on to the next generation and the
Kilt Passport is a tangible way of recording life's journey for that kilt and its wearers . . . yes . . . a kilt frequently gets handed down from father to son and even further - HRH Prince Charles has kilts belonging to his grandfather.

These individually numbered Kilt Passports are available to all participating kiltmakers and Highland dress retailers who are members of the Scottish Tartans Authority and they will be issuing  a free Passport with each of their new kilts.Passport Cover

The inside front cover is headed by the Authority's Coat of Arms and the introduction:

"Your Kilt is the heirloom of tomorrow. If cared for properly, it will last for two or more generations. Keep this Kilt passport safe and hand it on to future wearers so that they can enjoy its history and know from whom and whence it came"

The facing page accommodates the details of what tartan the kilt is made from; where it was woven and by whom; who made your kilt and when it was completed.
At the foot of that page is your individual
Kilt Passport Number.


How to Care for your Kilt

A good kilt is a major investment so it makes sense to look after it so that it might last a generation or two!



  • Ideally use a clamp hanger (sold for men's trousers or ladies' skirts). Just fold your kilt in half at the waist (with pleats to the outside) and then fold it again and secure in the hanger Don't cram it into a wardrobe but ensure it hangs free and unsquashed. If you have a garment bag then do use that to protect the kilt from dust, moths etc.

  • If your kilt has a couple of loops sewn into the waistband, do the buckles up and hang it on a strong coat hanger using the integral notches in a wooden hanger or hooks on a plastic one. The kilt tends to sag in the middle when hung like this so the clamp hanger is defintely the best idea.

   If wearing a kilt when travelling, always  smooth the pleats out under your bottom
as you sit down. It's a gesture that you'll have seen women do with their skirts or dresses and it's particularly important with the kilt. Don't worry about it looking effeminate - do it with vigour and panache and no-one will think a thing of it!

Getting into a car sometimes causes problems for newly kilted drivers. One of the best - and least revealing - methods is to sit down on the car seat (having smoothed the pleats out as suggested above) but with your legs out of the car. Then with one hand holding the outboard side of the kilt, pivot round, bringing your legs into the car. The pleats should lie flat for the whole journey.

If you find that method awkward then with a hand on the steering wheel put one leg into the car and then sweep the pleats out flat with the free arm as you sit down and bring the second leg on board all in one smooth and debonair manner!!

For long distances when you're unable to travel with the garments on a hanger, fasten the kilt buckles and then lay the kilt flat on a flat surface with the apron uppermost. Starting from the left roll the pleats towards the right (fringe) side. Slip the rolled kilt into an old nylon stocking (or one leg of a pair of tights) with the foot cut off. Place in your suitcase and even if you have to bend the top a little bit, it won't come to any harm. When you remove the kilt you'll have no problems with creasing and it should be ready to wear. The remainder of the outfit should be packed as a normal dinner suit. Do remember to pack your skean dhu in your hold luggage if travelling by air - if it's in hand baggage you're liable to be incarcerated!

If for any reason you don't happen to have a footless lady's stocking to hand or an old pair of tights, just fasten the kilt buckles and lay the kilt flat in the bottom of your suitcase. As long as you hang it up immediately at journey's end, it shouldbe fine.

When faced with any light spot-cleaning jobs,
Ruthven Milne of Piob Mhor and his kiltmakers always use a proprietory babywipe (those sweet-smelling ones for cleaning baby bots!). Ideally, if you spill anything on your kilt, clean it immediately. Since you're unlikely to have any baby wipes at the party, just use a clean cloth and warm or cold water and take the worst off. If cleaning a stubborn stain later, use the babywipes or, failing that, a proprietary spot cleaner but do test it on the inside of the kilt to make sure the cleaning doesn't leave a bigger mark than was there in the first place.

Some kiltmakers advocate not sending your kilt to a dry-cleaner —  they say the process takes the stuffing out of it and if they press it, you may end up with disastrous results. Ruthven Milne recommends the dry-cleaning route but suggests you check out your dry cleaner first - make sure they know what they're doing. Warning: don't send your kilt to the cleaners without first basting the pleats: basting is putting a tacking stitch right round the bottom of the kilt to hold each pleat in place. Make sure each pleat is the same width all the way down! 

American kilt expert
Bob Martin advocates washing a really dirty kilt with cold water and then hosing it down! In his book "All about your Kilt" (available in our online Shop) here's how he suggests you do it!

  1. Spot clean the cloth by putting undiluted Ivory Snow liquid or its equivalent on each of the very soiled areas and rubbing it in thoroughly. If the soilage is acute, a soft brush may be called for. Fill the bath tub with about 8 inches of cold water, adding 12 capfuls of the soap. Swish the kilt around thoroughly making certain it is entirely soaked.

  2.  Then fold the kilt as it's worn and lay it in the soapy water face down (front apron down), as this is where the main soilage usually occurs. Let the kilt soak for about 30 to 45 minutes. Pull the kilt from the bath and, holding it over the bath, let the dirty water drain off.

  3. Now hang the kilt on the clothesline with enough pins to ensure that it doesn't sag or fall to the ground and get dirty again! Douse it completely with a garden hose making sure that all the soap is removed within each pleat - outside and inside. It's very important that ALL soap be removed.

  4. Let the kilt drip-dry, preferably not in direct sunlight. If the kilt is washed in the AM, it will be dry in the PM, rain not withstanding.

  5. Please note below how simple the pressing of the pleats can be. And remember . . .you needn't worry that the kilt will shrink. It's HEAT and/or AGITATION that shrinks wool. Since we're talking of cold-water washing with a minimum of agitation, no change will take place.

Bob ends this rather drastic advice with the warning:

"Now, although this method works well for me, I am not able to personally control the process outlined here when YOU do it and I must therefore disclaim any and all responsibility for any adverse results."

We think this might be fine for a coarse everyday kilt but wouldn't dream of trying it on one that we were going to wear to a Buckingham Palace Tea Party!

 As the pleats don't lose all of their press when they're cleaned, it's only necessary to identify the edge of each pleat and then press on that same line. Use a steam iron with a pressing cloth.

Краткое описание документа:

The subject of our investigation is the Scottish kilt. Our project is mainly devoted to the history of developing of the most recognizable traditional clothes of Highland Scots.

Main objectives of our project:

- to give informationabout creating of the kilt in early years.

- to describe the process of weaving kilts.

- to show how to choose design and colourof the kilt.

- to analyze the difference between clans and their kilts.

-to investigate Highland dresses for men and women.

- to tell you about accessories which are worn with kilts.

- to inform you how to care for the kilt.

- to prove that Scottish kilt is still popular .

The summary:

The tartan kilt has long been the most recognizable cultural tradition of the Highland Scots. Yet, many of the most common features and associated with the wearing of the kilt were, in fact, developed in the 19th century, not by Scottish Highlanders, but by the Nobles of England and Scotland.

A traditional Scottish kilt is made with 8 yards of material - always 100 percent wool. It should sit high on the waist, with the bottom edge at the centre of the knee. Eight - yard kilts weigh a heavy 6 pounds and swing rhythmically when marching or dancing. Casual and traditional kilts are generally acceptable at both formal and informal events. Sporrans are usually made of plain leather for day wear. Sporrans made from animal furs are popular for evening wear.

During the 1800s, the wearing of the belted plaid began to be exchanged for that of the kilt. The belted plaid, being a one - piece, six foot long cloth, belted about the waist with the remainder being worn up about the shoulder, was proving to be somewhat inconvenient to wear. A “new”, little kilt design became popular, and it consisted of a plaid which had the traditional pleats permanently sewn in place, and separated the lower from the upper half, allowing the upper section to be removed when it became convenient.

In 1747 the Government, weary of being called to quell Highland uprisings, passed the Dress Act restricting the wearing of Highland plaid in any form in public. Punishment for a first offence was a 6 - month imprisonment, a second offence earned the wearer a 7 - year exile to an oversea work farm. Even the Bagpipes were outlawed, being considered an instrument of war. Only those in the army were permitted to wear the plaid, and as a result more comfortable traditional dress.

By the time the Dress Act was repealed in 1783, Celtic life had been forever altered and many of the old traditions and customs were lost forever. In spite of efforts revive the traditions, wearing the plaid was seen as only a nationalistic statement, and was no longer considered a way of life for Highlanders. The plaid now became more of a fashion experiment for the elite of England society. With the advent of the industrial revolution, the precise manufacturing and replication made possible by machinery, allowed the mass reproduction of the kilt.


So, we made the questionnaire and interviewed 105 pupils from 14 up to 16 years old. The results were following: 90% of female part of respondents want to wear multicolored skirts in stripes and checks. We were surprised that 30% of male part of respondents want to wear kilts. So, the aim of our work is to show peculiarities of Scottish kilts and to explain their popularity among people. What is more this project shows us that not only Scots like to wear kilts but there are also many people in Russia who would like to wear them with pleasure.

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