However, in some cases the direct heir was set aside for a more politically accomplished or belligerent relative.There were not many disputes over succession after the 16th century and, by the 17th century, the setting aside of the male heir was a rarity.Many clans have their own clan chief; those that do not are known as armigerous clans.Clans generally identify with geographical areas originally controlled by their founders, sometimes with an ancestral castle and clan gatherings, which form a regular part of the social scene.
Under Scots law, the chief is recognised as the head of the clan and serves as the lawful representative of the clan community.
Historically, tartan designs were associated with Lowland and Highland districts whose weavers tended to produce cloth patterns favoured in those districts.
By process of social evolution, it followed that the clans/families prominent in a particular district would wear the tartan of that district, and it was but a short step for that community to become identified by it.
The second concept was the wider acceptance of the granting of charters by the Crown and other powerful land owners to the chiefs, chieftains and lairds which defined the estate settled by their clan.
This was known as their oighreachd and gave a different emphasis to the clan chief's authority in that it gave the authority to the chiefs and leading gentry as landed proprietors, who owned the land in their own right, rather than just as trustees for the clan.