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  1. #1
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    What's with Cow-head sporrans?

    A recent and strange trend in sporrans has been putting huge Highland cow heads on them.

    There are furry cows



    And metal cows





    Ones with downward horns



    Let's have a whole cow-head cantle! Why not?



    True that there have been cow-heads on Highland accessories for at least 150 years, Clan MacLeod people, but those were far more restrained



    More common were stag heads, being for example the badge of The Gordon Highlanders. Here's a sporran with a stag-head from MacLeay



    But the new stag-head sporrans are as garish as the coo ones





    This is quite a bit better IMHO

    Last edited by OC Richard; 19th March 20 at 06:08 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  3. #2
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    In my humble opinion those sporrans——-excluding the MacLeod Clan badge one—————- are the epitome of poor taste.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  5. #3
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    I kinda like the fur sporrans. Of course, I'm in Texas and this is cow country.
    B.D. Marshall
    Texas Convener for Clan Keith

  6. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdkilted View Post
    I kinda like the fur sporrans. Of course, I'm in Texas and this is cow country.
    I live in the Highlands of Scotland, well away from civilisation, surrounded by red deer stags and Highland cattle!
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdkilted View Post
    I kinda like the fur sporrans. Of course, I'm in Texas and this is cow country.
    I like the fact that those new hairy sporrans look like they're made from actual Highland coo hair, which for some reason has been mostly neglected by sporran makers.

    It's the oversized gaudy replicas of cow-heads and stag-heads that I can do without.

    Like this: a nice traditional-looking cantle (this style has been in production since the 1920s) on a coo-hair body



    On another note, this Glasgow pipe band has big coo-heads on their bonnet-badges and on their bass drum

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjCGbkj_W-g&t=19s

    though I don't think they have them on their sporrans.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 19th March 20 at 01:28 PM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  10. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    In my humble opinion those sporrans——-excluding the MacLeod Clan badge one—————- are the epitome of poor taste.
    I'm with you.

    From an art standpoint they violate the concept of scale, how the various parts of a work need to be scaled proportionally to each other.

    The stag-head on the metal Celtic knotwork cantle is appropriately scaled to the cantle and also to the overall sporran design. The other stag-heads and all of the coo-heads on the modern sporrans are wildly disproportional to the size of the sporran itself.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  11. #7
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    I like the fact that those new hairy sporrans look like they're made from actual Highland coo hair, which for some reason has been mostly neglected by sporran makers.

    It's the oversized gaudy replicas of cow-heads and stag-heads that I can do without.

    Like this: a nice traditional-looking cantle (this style has been in production since the 1920s) on a coo-hair body



    On another note, this Glasgow pipe band has big coo-heads on their bonnet-badges and on their bass drum

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjCGbkj_W-g&t=19s

    though I don't think they have them on their sporrans.
    As Skye is the home of the MacLeods and the band has a Skye connection and the bulls head on the band bonnet badge does look very much like the head in the MacLeod Clan badge, so at a guess it will give a connection between the two.
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 19th March 20 at 03:32 PM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

  12. #8
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    Hmm, there's a ranch near me with some Highland Hairy Cows. I wonder...

  13. #9
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    I don't mind the long cow hair - for something a bit different - but agree the cow head embellishments are completely over the top.
    Even some of the stag head adornments ruin what would otherwise be a nice sporran. Instead of being a feature then end up dominating the look - and I can't help but think they look like a promotional gimmick for The Dalmore.

    Recently saw this from KA for sale on ebay:



    Not as bad as some - but would have been nicer with some more understated detail.

    Also what would have been a nice simple badger sporran from Margaret Morrison - but for the ugly cantle:



    Still - have to say my pet hate these days are the laser-etched sporran. Truly awful, even the more pricey ones just look cheap and nasty - but they now look to have largely taken over from hand-tooled and embossed versions.

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  15. #10
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    I saw your illustrations, I imagined a real cow's head. That would be very large and unwieldy. I wonder if anyone has ever tried.

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