Rediscovering the Arisaid - NMS Research Repository
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Rediscovering the Arisaid



The stereotype of 'traditional' Highland dress is the kilted male figure. The National Museums Scotland (NMS) and other museums have long included a category 'Arisaids' in their collections; research reveals that this was a female version of 'traditional' Highland dress, a finely-made and high status garment which was going out of fashion in the eighteenth century, though leaving some material evidence. This essay looks at evidence within the textiles themselves, using results from dye analysis, and places the results against sparse but telling historical and literary evidence to rediscover a 'lost' fashion. In the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, this was high colour, high quality and high fashion.


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