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A rare Highland Scottish sporran in complete and original condition dating to the first half of the 18th century formed from thick cast brass parts held together by brass and iron pins and a pouch made from roe deer skin. The front and top of the cantle is decorated with traditional concentric dot and ring mark patterns. These designs are of typical Scottish form for the period and often appear on early 18th century Scottish pistols and basket hilted swords used by the Highland clans. The pouch still retains its decorative ropework twists of doe skin and deer hair to the front.
Whilst sporrans are a common enough feature of Highland dress dating from Victorian times to today, genuine early 18th century Highland Scottish sporrans are now very rare, due to the government imposed proscription of Highland dress for nearly a quarter of a century after the failure of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. As a result, sporrans like this one of early functional rather than decorative form offer a unique window into pre-Rebellion Highland culture.
To the sides the extremes of the cantle parts are hinged by brass rivets. To the rear the original iron belt loops are present. The pouch inside has two leather pockets separated by iron dividers covered with leather. The rear of the cantle to the top right is marked with the initials of the owner I M K.
The sporran is in overall excellent condition for its age.The brass cantle measures just under 5.75 inches across the top (14.5 cm) then widens gently towards the pouch. For similarly decorated 18th century sporrans, some with later pouches, and some detached, see Plates XXXVI and XXXVII in “Ancient Scottish Weapons”, James Drummond, George Waterston & Sons, Edinburgh and London, 1881.