Tartans, dye analysis and Highland dress

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The National Museums Scotland [NMS] established a multi-disciplinary investigation of the use and significance of colour in tartan, particularly in surviving fabrics of the eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, and a research project ran in three phases between 1996 and 2007. Tartan is a distinctive and familiar badge of Scotland and considered widely to be a form of national dress with traditional antecedents. A large and important collection of tartans and Highland dress in the National Museums Scotland was drawn on extensively for a spectacular exhibition in 1988 held at the Fashion Institute of Technology [FIT] in New York and the topic repeated in Scotland in different format in the Edinburgh International Festival in 1989. These enterprises prompted staff to examine tartans more closely and to attempt to offer more by way of history and interpretation, particularly in the light of the ‘invention of tradition’ thesis and reassessment of the significance of tartan for Scottish culture.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherThe Scottish Government
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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