A passionate little blog started by a deerhound dog in Scotland called Rogue ‘Brylach’ MacAllister and Passed to Rascal ‘Logan’ Dorrator Heath

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hunting Clan Brodie Deerhound

I haven’t posted for a while as my human companion has been at the christmas party at the Haunted Auchen Castle near the Scottish Borders. Four poster beds, hill country rambles, a snug bar, dashing white seargents, birlin reels, pass the parcel, musical chairs, ghosts on the stairs - wish I had gone along.

But way cool, as the secret santa prize (where associates pull a name from the hat and have to buy a gift for the named person) my kennel keeper received a Brodie Hunting Tartan Scarf. Hey! one of our family clan tartans. Here’s me modeling the clan crest badge on a Glen Garry bunnet sporting the nifty wee scarf.

As for deerhounds, we all know about our clan tartans but for the keepers who wonder about them, the etiquette, the allegiance etc. read below, culled from the scottish Tartans Museum in North Carolina where believe it or not, their is a larger population of Scottish descent than in Scotland itself. Visit their website by clicking Tartans.

What is the difference between ancient and modern tartans? Dress and Hunting?
These names are responsible for much confusion when it comes to tartans. I have written an essay on the differences which has appeared in many clan newsletters and has been passes out in leaflet form at many Highland Games. Following is a brief excerpt from it, to answer these types of questions. The terms "ancient" and "modern" do not refer to different tartans, but to different color schemes of tartans. In simple terms, modern is dark and ancient is light. The distinction came about in the Victorian period when people rebelled against the very dark colors of the day with lighter shades. It was suggested that the lighter shades were more common with the traditional vegetable dyes used before the mid-nineteenth century development of aniline dyes. These lighter shades were called ancient colors, while the darker shades were known as modern. But the tartan was the same--only the value of the colors changed. Recently, it has become fashionable for mills to weave certain tartans in very muted shades of browns and grays, called either "weathered," "reproduction," or "muted" colors. These shades are supposed to represent a piece of tartan that has been buried in a peat bog for a couple of centuries, or has been overly exposed to the elements. But realize that these names do not refer to different tartans and do not refer to any kind of dating. Therefore, families like Armstrong, with only one tartan, can have that tartan woven in the ancient, modern, or weathered colors. You can have a tartan from 1815 dyed in modern colors, and a tartan designed in 1985 woven in ancient colors.
Often you will have a tartan that is actually older in date than another of the same name. This is distinguished by the prefix "old." The terms "ancient" and "modern" generally come after the tartan name. Thus Old MacLachlan, modern, describes the older of two MacLachlan tartans dyed in the darker modern colors.

Hunting and Dress tartans also cause much confusion among the uninitiated. These names also refer to color changes, not to any kind of actual usage. Dress tartans are based on the old arasaide tartans worn by women in the Highlands of the 17th and 18th centuries. These tartans had a white base. Today's dress tartans are made by replacing one of the prominent field colors of a tartan with white. These are used most frequently in dancing, but are often seen in formal and even casual occasions. There is no rule that says one has to wear a dress tartan to a formal occasion. Most men do not. Hunting tartans came about in the mid 1800s when two versions of the MacLeod tartan were published in a book called Vestiarium Scoticum (later proved to be a fake--but there is not enough room to go into the history of this important book here). There was a bright yellow MacLeod (MacLeod of Lewis), called "dress" and a green and blue tartan (MacLeod of Harris) called "hunting." The green tartans became very popular after this and most families who had bright red or yellow based tartans designed alternate tartans with a green background (or sometimes brown) and called them "hunting." Families whose tartans are mostly green do not usually have alternate hunting tartans. These tartans actually had little to do with hunts.

Whether you wear a modern or ancient tartan, hunting or dress, or any other form of your tartan is up to you.

Do I have to wear a tartan that associates with my last name?
No, although this is a common misconception. Too many people think there are too many rules about tartans and kilts. One has to understand that many of these "rules" are simply tradition, and often misplaced tradition. Your ancestors would have worn a tartan based on their aesthetic tastes and not family lineage. To paraphrase "Scotty" Thompson, author of So You're Going to Wear the Kilt?, there is no such thing as the right to a tartan. He describes three types of rights listed in the dictionary--moral, legal, and divine (as in the "divine right of kings). Since it is neither immoral, illegal, or ungodly to wear a tartan, it makes no sense to speak of the "right" to a tartan. There are actually very few tartans with restrictions placed on them (such as the Royal Family's Balmoral tartan). So wear any tartan you like. Just remember that in today's society, tartans mean something. They represent something. And by wearing a tartan you are honoring whatever that tartan represents, be it a clan, family, or location. Many people choose to wear a tartan that associates with their family, but some choose to wear the tartan of a good friend, a mentor, or to commemorate a historical event (such as the Culloden tartan, or the Jacobite tartan). Whatever the case, be aware of what the tartan you wear stands for and wear it proudly.

Brodie hunting below



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