Magazine picture entitled 'The Sword Dance'

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Postcard of Magazine picture entitled 'The Sword Dance'.
© National Museums Scotland

Magazine picture entitled 'The Sword Dance'

Magazine picture entitled 'The Sword Dance', c. 1904. A romanticised view of army life taken from a painting by M. Orange. Set in the island of Jersey, a piper of the 2nd Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry performs a 'Sword Dance'.

The Sword Dance, or Dannse Gille Calum (literally the dance of a young man called Malcolm) would be performed in turn by the soldiers and was seen as a symbol of a sincere and hospitable welcome.

To perform the dance, two swords are placed crossed at right angles on the ground. The tune performed on the bagpipes is usually a Strathspey, quickening to a reel as the dance becomes more vigorous.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-100-283-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0207: The Thistle at War
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  M.1953.347
Date: c. 1904
Material: Paper
Dimensions: 230 mm H x 330 mm W
What: Newscutting
Subject: Archives and manuscripts / History - Military
Who: 2nd Highland Light Infantry (British land forces)
Campbell Collection
Description: Magazine picture entitled 'The Sword Dance', depicting officers and men of the 2nd Battalion, Highland Light Infantry , c. 1904.
  • Wood, Stephen The Scottish soldier. Manchester: Archive Publications with NMS, 1987 
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