A Conversation for History of the Celts

Introduction of Tartans/Plaid

Post 1

Aetatis20

Hi -

I would like to complement you on a nice entry. I have a question about Celts and plaids.
Perhaps you or someone else in this coversation could shed light on. I was wondering
if you know any history behind the use of plaids in the culture or when it was first introduced.

When I was a kid I remember seeing Celts in history books wearing bright plaid trousers. I just assumed that
it was a gradual change as the cultures in Britain were blended when the Tartans started showing up in Scotland
in the 16th Century (I don't have any info for Ireland unfortunately)

I have always wondered where the Celts had the idea for this (Another Culture perhaps?)



Thanks!


Introduction of Tartans/Plaid

Post 2

Mat Lindsay (the researcher formerly known as Nylarthotep...now he has a name, all he needs is a face)

I'm not sure as to where the use of palids originated from in the first place (possibly the practice of weaving this kind of pattern was adopted from the natives of the lands in which the Celts settled, maybe they picked it up on their gradual migration from Asia Minor or it is possible that they came up with it on their own), but the association of clans and tartans in Scotland is for the most part a fabrication made up by the folks who started to sell tartan to the English in the period when all things Scottish were in fashion thanks to the efforts of such influential figures as Sir Walter Scott.

Previously to this the wearing of tartans along with the playing of the bagpipes had been banned due to the fact that they tended to go hand in hand with large groups of Scotsmen descending from the glens to indulge in a little recreational rape and pillage at the expense of the English.

With the repealing of these prohibitions and the sudden interest in all things Scottish, the weavers associated certain designs with certain clans to cash in on the mystique of the myth of the noble highland people which the English were all to willing to believe. For their part the clans pretty much accepted the tartans as their own, if you can't beat 'em join 'em, as the old phrase goes.

Some claim that the tartans originated as a form of camouflage for the rugged territory in which the clans herded (and often raided) cattle. While this is palusible in the case of tartans such as that of the Lindsay clan (of which I am a proud member) which is a deep forest green and a bruised purple and would fit perfectly with grass and heather. But it is harder to credit when you consider that many tartans incorperate colours such as yellows and blues.

Even to this day the use (and maybe even abuse) of tartans can cause controversy. Recently the McDonalds chain of restaurants decided to use the aforementioned Lindsay tartan in its staff uniforms. This caused the McDonald clan itself to make a public statement of objection.


Introduction of Tartans/Plaid

Post 3

Bran the Explorer

Hi Folks

There is some early evidence that the peoples of Britain and northwest Europe wore patterns that were what we might interpret as plaid. The Romans notes garish dress of the Contintal Celts in Gaul as well as those in Britain. There is evidence of material in gob-finds in Belgium which has a plaid style of pattern. This was possibly due to the style of weaving.

Thanks for your interest in the entry.

Cheers
Bran.


Introduction of Tartans/Plaid

Post 4

Bran the Explorer

P.S. That should be "bog-finds", not "gob-finds" ... though the imagery of the latter is interesting!

Cheers
Bran.


Introduction of Tartans/Plaid

Post 5

Mat Lindsay (the researcher formerly known as Nylarthotep...now he has a name, all he needs is a face)

"And here, in the gullet of this pre-Roman male we found stunning evidence that links the celts with the lost civilisation of Atlantis...but wait till you see what an x-ray of this Gaulish female's craw showed up..."

Now that would lend a touch of the bizarre to Time Team...


Introduction of Tartans/Plaid

Post 6

Brochfael_Canwrtir

Tartan like patterns have been found in the Hallstatt Salt mines. If memory serves dated to 750-500 BCE.


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Introduction of Tartans/Plaid

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