Wooden Cane with Dog Head Handle.
Wooden Cane with Dog Head Handle.
Walking sticks started out as a necessary tool for the Shepherd and traveller. A nice hefty stick was an excellent way to protect against thieves and to keep animals in line. Over time, the walking stick gradually began to be known as a symbol of power and strength, and eventually authority and social prestige.
Rulers of many cultures, past and present, have carried some form of walking stick or staff. Egyptian rulers were believed to have carried staffs varying from three to six feet in length. These were often topped by an ornamental knob in the shape of a lotus, a symbol of long life. Ancient Greek gods were often depicted with a staff in hand.
By the Middle Ages, (in what is now Europe), a sceptre carried in the right hand was a symbol of royal power, while one in the left hand represented justice. The church also began to use staffs to denote it's higher offices. A crooked staff with a hook held by a bishop was a symbol of his role as Shaped to his congregation. The hook represented the Bishop drawing in his flock to the church. The use of the word cane for a walking stick began in the 16th century when bamboo and other tropical grasses and reeds began to be used as shafts.
The distinction between sticks and canes is based on the materials used; sticks were made of ivory, whalebone, ebony and other valuable woods. Canes were made from Malacca or rattan, bamboo and other hardy reeds. Quality canes spoke volumes about a person's wealth and social status.
After the 1600s, canes became fashionable for men to carry as part of their daily attire. New rules of etiquette were formed during this time. To break this code of behaviour was considered a violation of good manners. In 1702, the men of London were required to have a license in order to carry a walking stick or cane. Cane use was considered a privilege, and gentlemen had to abide by those rules or lose the privilege
One example of a cane license reads. You are hereby required to permit the bearer of this cane to pass and repass through the streets of London, or anyplace within ten miles of it, without theft or molestation: Provided that he does not walk with it under his arm, brandish it in the air, or hang it on a button, in which case it shall be forfeited, and I hereby declare it forfeited to anyone who shall think it safe to take it from him. Signed________. (Source: Lester and Oerke Accessories of Dress, Peoria, IL. The Manual Arts Press.)
In the late 17th Century oak sticks were carried, especially by the Puritans. The fashion (for men) continued into the 18th Century. From time to time, women also carried walking sticks or canes as a fashion accessory.
In the 11th Century, in what we now call France, women carried slender sticks made of apple wood. Canes came into fashion again with Marie Antoinette, who was known for carrying Shepherd's crook.
In the United States, presidents have often carried canes and received them as gifts. The Smithsonian has a cane given to George Washington by Ben Franklin. It features a gold handle in the shape of a French liberty cap. In our time, walking sticks are usually only seen with formal attire. Collectors of canes look for the old, the new and the novel.
Canes with hidden features such as hidden compartments, pool sticks, and sword canes are popular among collectors. Handles have been made from many substances, both natural and man-made. Carved and decorated canes have turned the functional into the fantastic.
Item Code - MIS7D244PVC
Width: 3/4" Height: 36 5/8" Depth: 3/4" Weight: 337 g
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