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Sgian Dubh History

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Sgian Dubh (Skean Dhu) Information Courtesy of Gaelic Themes:
 
"The Sgian Dubh has a strong place in the history and hearts of all Scots. It developed over the centuries from a short utility knife but its historical and cultural importance stems from the period of proscription when Scots were forbidden arms and the wearing of the kilt.

Sgian is the Gaelic general word for "blade" or "knife" and is applied to everyday items. For example penknife is "Sgian-phocaid". Dubh is translated from Gaelic as black, darkness or hidden and it is this word which evokes the true history of this unique item.

The short utility knife was ideal for personal protection and during the ban on arms it became common practice to conceal this weapon in a secret pocket under the armpit.The custom developed whereby the Scots knew that each carried their "sgian dubh" and as a mark of respect and openness the custom developed of wearing it in the hose top when in the presence of friends.

Today the Sgian Dubh is an indispensable accessory and there are 2 different types.

The "Day sgian dubh" bears a strong resemblance to the ancient utility knife and is generally wood or horn handle with a leather sheath.

The "dress sgian dubh" has become more embellished over the years and the variations are many.



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