Two Scottish Cow Horn Tinceard Spoons X2, Clan Heritage For Sale
Two Scottish Cow Horn Tinceard Spoons
Carved from Real Cow Horn
Exact Copy of a 19th Century Original - Great for Porridge
Clan Heritagefor your Kitchen Drawer
15.5 cm long - 0.5 cm thick
Highland Scottish Travellers, were perhaps one of Europe's last nomadic people, They were not Roma Gypsies. They are distinct from them ethnically, culturally and linguistically. They were an indigenous, Gaelic-speaking people. In Scottish Gaelic they are known as the Ceàrdannan ("the Craftsmen"). The word tinker (often associated with them) comes from the Gaelic "tinceard" or tinsmith. Poetically known as the Summer Walkers, they also are referred to as traivellers, traivellin' fowk and nawkers.
Summer Walkers are closely associated with the Northwest Highlands, and many of the families carry clan names like Macfie, Cameron, Williamson, Stewart, MacDonald and Macmillan. They would pitch their bow tents at the edge of villages and earn money there as hawkers, tinsmiths, horse dealers or pearl fishermen. Many found seasonal employment on farms, e.g. at berry picking or during harvest. They also brought entertainment and news to the country folk.
The menfolk repaired pots and pans and made horn spoons, willow baskets and clothes pegs for their wives to sell. The raw materials for these handicrafts were free, as they could be easily foraged for in the surrounding countryside. Their pegs and baskets have long rotted away, but their horn spoons remain, and have become highly sought after examples of Highland folk-art. Up until theearly 20th century, most rural Scottish homes would have a number of them for everyday usage – often purchased from a Summer Walker who had come knocking on the cottage door.
Our spoons, with a thistle motif, are an exact copy of a spoon purchased by us, that was dated around 1840-1870. Common throughout the highlands, islands and lowlands of Scotland, the prickly purple thistle has been Scotland's national emblem for centuries. This proud and regal plant, which grows to a height of five feet, has no natural enemies because of the vicious spines that cover and protect it like a porcupine. There are several different legends that tell how the thistle became Scotland's symbol, but most date from the reign of Alexander III and in particular the events surrounding the Battle of Largs in 1263.
The Highland Scottish Traveller community has a long history in Scotland with records going back to at least that time. They share a similar heritage with, although distinct from, the Irish Travellers. As with their Irish counterparts, there are several theories regarding the origin of Scottish Highland Travellers, one being that they are descended from the Picts. Scottish Travellers had a secret cant, or language, the Beialrearich, which has never been written down. It is a complex mixture of Scots and Gaelic, some of it archaic, with a sprinkling of Romany. This allows the tinkers to switch nimbly to cant in the presence of even Gaelic-speaking strangers, a skill that was useful when they were questioned about suspected theft or poaching. As cow horns are natural items, each one has slight variations of shade and colour. The spoons depicted are merely average representations.
15.5 cm long - Sold in Pairs
Our Ref: r287162-101
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Two Scottish Cow Horn Tinceard Spoons X2, Clan Heritage: $15