Tartan is a wool material (= tessuto di lana), with stripes (= strisce) of different colours and sizes (= grandezza) . Tartan patterns (= modelli) are called “setts”; the sett is repeated over and over again tyo complete the pattern.
The tartan has Celtic origins: the Celts wove (= tessevano) chequered (= a scacchi) or striped cloth (= tessuto).
The first Tartan was found in Scotalnd. It dates back (= risale) to the 3rd century AD and is called Falkirk Tartan. Its pattern is in two colours, dyed (= tinto) brown and white.
Later the colours were determined by local plants used as colorants .
The origins of the name are not certain: it can derive from the Irish tarsna meaning (= che significa) crosswise (= incrociato), from the Scottish Gaelic tarsuinn meaning across (= di traverse) or from the French tiretain meaning wool and linen mixture (= insieme di lino e lana).
The distinction among the tartans is due (= è dovuta) to the weavers: each area had a different artisan that produced a tartan different from the tartans of the other areas. At first they were called District Tartans and were worn (=indossati) by the people and families living in the same district. The colours of the tartans depended on the local plants used to dye (= per tingere). On the west coast weavers used lettuce green (= verde lattuga), seaweeds (= alghe) , purple derived from seashore whelks (= molluschi che si trovano a riva). Inland (= nell’interno) weavers used heather (= erica) which gave yellow, deep green and brownish organge (= arancio-marrone) and the blueberries (= mirtilli) which gave purples (=viola), blue and browns. If the weavers or his customers were rich they could look for imported colours of madder (= robbia, per ottenere un viola rossa lacca), cochineal (= cocciniglia, per ottenere il rosso), woad (= tintura di guado, blu) and indigo (= indaco).
Sir Water Scott planned (=organizzò) that during his visit to
Edinburgh in 1822, King George IV could see all the Highland Chiefs (= capi degli Highlands) wearing their different Clan Tartans. In Sir Walter Scott’s novels in fact the Clan and the Tartan became synonymous.
Victoria and her Consort, Prince Albert were supporters (= sostenitori) of the tartans: they fell in love Balmoral in Scotland – and designed the now world famous Balmoral Tartan. Prince Albert