Tuesday, 27 March 2012
The kilt is a knee-length garment with pleats at the rear, originating in the traditional dress of men and boys in the Scottish Highlands of the 16th century. Since the 19th century it has become associ-ated with the wider culture of Scotland in general, or with Celtic (and more specifically Gaelic) heritage even more broadly. It is most often made of woollen cloth in a tartan pattern. Although the kilt is most often worn on formal occasions and at Highland games and sports events, it has also been adapted as an item of fashionable informal male clothing in recent years, returning to its roots as an everyday garment.
The kilt first appeared as the great kilt, the breacan or belted plaid, during the 16th century and is Highland Gaelic in origin, a full-length garment whose upper half could be worn as a cloak draped over the shoulder, or brought up over the head.
The philibeg or small kilt, also known as the walking kilt (similar to the modern kilt) did not develop until the late 17th or early 18th century, and is essentially the bottom half of the great kilt. It is said by some to have been invented by an English Quaker from Lancashire called Thomas Rawlinson sometime in the 1720s for the use of the Highlanders employed by Rawlinson and Ian MacDonnell, chief of the MacDonnells of Inverness, in logging, charcoal manufacture and iron smelting, for which the belted plaid was too "cumbrous and unwieldy".
One of the most-distinctive features of the authentic Scots kilt is the tartan pattern, the sett, it exhibits. This is a check type woven piece of cloth that has been Registered with the Scottish Tartans Authority in Crieff. Each tartan has a thread count and colours attached to the count. There are over 6000 tartans. The association of particular patterns with individual clans and families is a recent phenomenon and it was only in the Victorian era that the named tartans known today began to be systematically recorded and formalized, mostly by weaving companies for mercantile purposes. Up until this point, Highland tartans held regional associations rather than being identified with any particular clan.
By contrast, it seems that female curiosity as to what is worn beneath the kilt is not a modern phenomenon – this cartoon dates from 1815!
This is Kilt Rock on the Isle of Skye, one of the Inner Hebrides off the Western coast of Scotland. Located on the east coast of Skye’s Trotternish Peninsula, Kilt Rock is a 200 foot high sea cliff with a striking rock formation.
It is said to resemble a kilt, with vertical basalt columns forming the pleats and intruded sills of dol-erite forming the pattern.
This entirely natural phenomenon is similar to the basalt rocks on the Isle of Staffa near Iona.
The Mealt Waterfall , a spectacular 200 foot high waterfall plunges over the cliff edge down to the pebbled shore beneath with Kilt Rock in the background.
If you would like to see more examples of how the letter K has been handled by the Alphabet Wednesday crew please visit the ABC link site.
Posted by John Edwards at 21:41
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