Symphony of Scottish Tartans: Unveiling Endless Variation!
One of the questions that I get asked a lot is that it pertains to the selection of a suitable tartan. Whilst purchasing a kilt, because if you or you may not know but there are over 1500+ tartan options available, making the decision quite overwhelming. Even if a customer has a specific clan and desires their corresponding tartan, there are often multiple variations of that tartan to choose from. Tartan selection is a personal decision, catering to individual preferences, whether one favours an ancient or modern design.
Another example would be to consider the Fraser Tartan as an excellent illustration of the vast array of tartan variations that often lead to endless confusion. Scotland boasts a significant number of clans, and each clan can possess numerous distinct tartans along with associated names. Moreover, within each tartan, additional variations can be found, with the most prevalent ones being Ancient, Modern, Weathered, Hunting, and Dress.
Even if i get to my Scottish Tartan Finder or Tartan register even after knowing my clan, i get confused because there is so much diversification and the options are endless. So it definitely gets confusing. So I’m writing this post just to clarify those consequences. So let’s begin.. Shall we?
So, the question is that why does it get inconvenient to understand
The variations in Clan Tartans!
Okay, so let’s just start by saying that have you ever noticed that the Scot tartans from different mills often have variations for the same clan? Take the Macdonald Tartan , for example. You might come across MacDonald Ancient, MacDonald Modern, MacDonald Muted, and MacDonald Weathered, macdonald hunting. But what does it all mean? Do they all belong to some different clans? Why is it like that?
The answer is, It’s nothing to do with the clans more specifically. The tartan itself is defined by its ‘thread count,’ which refers to the sequence of colours and the tartan threads that have been used in the weave. The variations like Ancient, Modern, Muted, and Weathered indicate different colour palettes or shades used in the design, while the underlying tartan thread count remains the same.
Ancient tartans have lighter, faded colours, while Modern tartans feature brighter hues. Muted tartans have more subdued or earthy tones, and Weathered tartans offer an aged appearance. So, although there may be multiple versions of tartans associated with a clan, they all stem from the same thread count. The variations lie in the colours used, giving rise to distinct styles like MacDonald Ancient, MacDonald Modern, MacDonald Muted, and MacDonald Weathered.
So, Here Comes The Variations: Ancient, Modern, Muted & Weathered!
The Ancient color palette takes us on a journey to the past, recreating the enchanting hues of ancient plant-derived dyes that predated the invention of chemical dyes by the Victorians. These colours were believed to be lighter and more delicate. Now, envision the transformation within the tartan cloth:
- The fiery red turns into light orange,
- The deep blue turns into a gentle sky blue,
- The lush green transforms into a lively grassy green,
- And the radiant yellow tartan becomes a subtle pale yellow.
Behold the MacDonald Clan tartan in the ANCIENT colour palette, where softer and lighter shades bring forth the allure of dyeing with traditional, plant-based methods.
The Modern colour palette embodies the epitome of Scottish tartans. It reflects the advent of “modern” chemical dyes that emerged in the 19th century, boasting bold, vibrant, and luxurious colours akin to those found on a primary colour wheel. Observe the following:
- A bold red that demands attention from a dim red,
- A navy blue exuding depth and sophistication from a simple blue,
- A dark bottle green reminiscent of ancient forests from the dull grassy green,
- And a vivid yellow radiating energy from the pale one.
Explore the MacDonald Clan tartan in the MODERN color palette, representing the quintessential choice for Scottish tartans.
Enter the realm of the Muted color palette, a contemporary concept that captures the essence of soft and natural tones. Positioned between the lightness of the ancient color palette and the opulence of the modern color palette, it offers a unique spectrum:
- A rich red resembling the color of blood,
- A stormy sky blue evoking a sense of mystery,
- An olive green reminiscent of tranquil landscapes,
- And a golden shade reminiscent of precious metals.
Witness the MacDonald Clan tartan in the MUTED color palette, where a subdued, jewel-tone appearance reigns supreme.
The Weathered color palette, also known as “Reproduction” by some mills, transports us to a realm of timeless charm. It aims to emulate tartans that have weathered the elements, their fibers steeped in history. Notice the inclusion of various browns and grays, evoking the passage of time:
- A “salmon” red, as if touched by the hues of twilight,
- A bluish grey reminiscent of stormy skies,
- A transformation of green into earthy brown,
- And a pale gold, reminiscent of sun-kissed fields.
In Summary – Remember, a tartan’s thread count remains unchanged, akin to its DNA, as officially recorded by the Office of Lord Lyon in Scotland. However, as a wearer of tartan, you have a myriad of options available, ranging from the boldness of the Modern palette to the rustic charm of the Weathered palette. Embrace the artistry and versatility of Scottish tartans in their magnificent colors.
How should I approach what tartan can I wear?
The process of choosing an appropriate Color Palette for a Plaid Kilt is a matter of great personal significance, necessitating careful consideration. It is a decision that relies heavily on individual taste and preferences. In order to ensure that one’s clan affiliation is readily identifiable, it is advisable to opt for the Modern Color Palette. Conversely, if a preference exists for lighter hues, the Ancient Color Palette may be more appealing. Alternatively, there may be valid reasons for diverging from the Modern colors, especially if they are strongly associated with another entity. For instance, individuals belonging to the Campbell clan often opt for Campbell Ancient instead of the Modern variant, commonly referred to as Blackwatch.
Similarly, the ubiquitous Royal Stewart Tartan may not be the favoured choice for many members of the Stewart clan, who may instead prefer alternative versions.
For different seasons or occasions, Muted and Weathered tartans present compelling alternatives. Muted tartans, for instance, offer an excellent complement to a tweed ensemble during the Fall season. On the other hand, Weathered tartans exude a rustic, sylvan ambiance, making them ideal for hiking or when a subdued and relaxed appearance is desired.
"Frequently Asked Question’s"
What distinguishes ancient tartans from modern tartans?
Ancient tartans and modern tartans differ in their color tones. Ancient tartans feature softer, muted shades, while modern tartans have brighter, bolder colors. These variations provide options for individuals with different preferences.
What is the meaning of weathered tartan?
Weathered tartan refers to a specific style that imitates the appearance of tartan fabric that is associated with Scotland and has endured weathering and fading over time. It gives the tartan a more vintage and aged look, adding a touch of character and nostalgia.
What are the various Plaid types of clan tartans found in Scotland?
Scotland boasts several Plaid types of clan tartans, including:
- Clan tartans
- District tartans
- Hunting tartan
- Dress tartans
Who introduced these variations in tartans?
The variations in tartans emerged naturally over time as different weavers and mills experimented with color combinations and patterns. As tartans evolved and gained popularity, various designers, weavers, and textile manufacturers contributed to the introduction of new variations in tartan designs.