A Sporran is a pouch (Scottish Gaelic for 'purse').

Now a decorative part of Highland dress, it was originally an everyday practical item. Made of leather or fur, it usually has more or less elaborate silver or other ornamentation, especially on the clasp or hanger. It is worn on a chain or belt around the waist, allowing the sporran to lie below the waist of the person wearing a kilt.

Since the traditional kilt does not have pockets, the sporran serves as a wallet and container for any other necessary personal items (such as a hip-flask). It is essentially a survival of the common European medieval belt-pouch, superseded elsewhere as clothing came to have pockets, but continuing in the Scottish Highlands because of the lack of these accessories in traditional dress.

The sporran also protects a person's decency. This was originally because the ancient 'great plaid' (Gaelic "breacan an fhèilidh"), formed of a long draped cloth, had a gap at the front, and in more modern times because the kilt is traditionally worn without undergarments. Historically, the sporran was used to carry a day's rations. Some believe it served as armour for the groin.

* "Day Sporrans" are usually simple brown or black leather pouches with little adornment. These "day" sporrans often have three leather tassels and some Celtic knots embossed in the leather. Traditionalists prefer brown or buff-colored sporrans, belts, and shoes for day wear.

* "Dress Sporrans" are larger than the day variety, and are more ornate. Victorian examples were often ostentatious, and very different from the simple leather pouch of the 17th or 18th centuries. They usually have chrome or silver cantles trimming the top of the pouch and a fur-covered face with fur or hair tassels. The cantle may contain intricate filigree or etchings of Celtic knots. The top of the cantle may have a set stone, jewel, or emblems such as Saint Andrew, a thistle, Clan, or Masonic symbols.

* "Military Sporrans" may be worn with regimental attire. Pipers will often wear the most flamboyant sporrans with long horsehair that swishes from side to side as the piper marches.

The sporran hangs just below the belt buckle; and much effort is made to match their style and design. The kilt belt buckle can be very ornate, and contain similar motifs to the sporran cantle and the Sgian Dubh. When driving a car, dancing, playing drums, or engaging in any activity where a heavy pouch might encumber the wearer, the sporran can be turned around the waist to let it hang on the hip in a more casual position. [cite web |url=http://www.clan.com/kiltsandtartan |title=Kilts & Tartan Made Easy |accessdate=2007-12-29] [cite web |url=http://www.kinnairdbagpipes.com/docs/FAQ/Dress%20Instructions%20Mar%2006.pdf
title=Formal Pipe Band Dress Instruction |accessdate=2006-11-23

Sporran materials and the Law

As sporrans are made of animal skin, their production, ownership and transportation across borders can be regulated by legislation set to control the trade of protected and endangered species. A 2007 BBC report on legislation introduced by the Scottish Executive stated that sporran owners may need licences to prove that the animals used in construction of their pouch conformed to these regulations. [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/6234290.stm
title=Sporran wearers may need licence |accessdate=2007-06-25

However several of the species listed in the BBC article are not covered by the Habitants Directives of the legislation, and of the over a hundred different animals listed by the legislation only a few, such as Otter, have ever been associated with sporran construction. Most common sporran skins are not controlled or regulated animals in regards to this legislation. [cite web |url=http://scottishsporran.com/index.php?news=5
title=The Truth Behind The Myths Of The Sporran Licence |accessdate=2007-07-23


External links

* [http://www.xmarksthescot.com X Marks the Scot - an international community of kilt wearers and those who encourage the wearing of kilts.]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/tayside_and_central/7283765.stm Super Bowl star's special sporran.]
* [http://www.kiltsrock.com The Brotherhood of the Kilt - A global co-ed community dedicated to the promotion of the Kilt.]
* [http://leathersporran.com Descriptions of, and wearing styles, for Sporrans.]

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  • sporran — [spɔʀan] n. m. ÉTYM. Attesté 1980; mot gaélique sporan « bourse », empr. par l angl. au déb. du XIXe (Walter Scott, etc.). ❖ ♦ Bourse plate attachée à la ceinture, caractéristique du costume masculin traditionnel, en Écosse. || Sporran de cuir… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Sporran — Spor ran (sp[o^]r ran), n. [Gael. sporan.] A large purse or pouch made of skin with the hair or fur on, worn in front of the kilt by Highlanders when in full dress. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sporran — 1818, from Gaelic sporan, Irish sparan purse, of uncertain origin. Familiarized by Walter Scott (first attested in Rob Roy ) …   Etymology dictionary

  • sporran — ► NOUN ▪ a small pouch worn around the waist so as to hang in front of the kilt as part of men s Scottish Highland dress. ORIGIN Scottish Gaelic sporan …   English terms dictionary

  • sporran — [spôr′ən, spär′ən] n. [Gael sporan] a leather pouch or purse, usually covered with fur or hair, worn hanging from the front of the belt in the dress costume of Scottish Highlanders …   English World dictionary

  • Sporran — Este artículo está huérfano, pues pocos o ningún artículo enlazan aquí. Por favor, introduce enlaces hacia esta página desde otros artículos relacionados …   Wikipedia Español

  • Sporran — Ein Sporran (Schottisch für „Geldbeutel“) gehört zur traditionellen Kleidung der Bewohner der schottischen Highlands. Er ersetzt an dem sonst taschenlosen Kilt die Hosentasche. Sporran mit Fuchsfellbesatz und keltischen Knoten, Highlandgames 2005 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sporran — Un sporran de cuir noir. Le sporran, mot gaélique écossais signifiant sacoche, est un élément du costume traditionnel masculin des Highlands, en Écosse. Le sporran pallie l absence de poches du kilt. Il est issu des sacoches communément portées à …   Wikipédia en Français

  • sporran — UK [ˈspɒrən] / US [ˈspɔrən] noun [countable] Word forms sporran : singular sporran plural sporrans a small furry bag that hangs in front of a man s kilt as part of traditional Scottish dress …   English dictionary

  • sporran — [19] English acquired sporran from Gaelic, of course, but it is not ultimately of Celtic origin. It goes back to Latin bursa ‘purse’ (source of English bursar, purse, etc), which was early on borrowed into the Celtic languages, giving Irish… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

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