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The sporran (//; Scottish Gaelic for "purse"), a traditional part of male Scottish Highland dress, is a pouch that performs the same function as pockets on the pocketless kilt. Made of leather or fur, the ornamentation of the sporran is chosen to complement the formality of dress worn with it. The sporran is worn on a leather strap or chain, conventionally positioned in front of the groin of the wearer.
Since the traditional kilt does not have pockets, the sporran serves as a wallet and container for any other necessary personal items. It is essentially a survival of the common European medieval belt-pouch, superseded elsewhere as clothing came to have pockets, but continuing in the Scottish Highlands because of the lack of these accessories in traditional dress.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 hangs 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. Early sporrans would have been worn suspended from the belt on one or other of the hips, rather than hung from a separate strap in front of the wearer.
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.
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.
However several of the species listed in the BBC article are not covered by the Habitats Directives of the legislation, and of the over 100 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.