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Mervyn Mitton

Walking Sticks - and as Weapons

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Even before weapons evolved with our ancestors, little ape like creatures probably helped to

support themselves on two legs with the help of a stick. So, in all probability a stick is mans'

earliest tool.

This has continued to evolve over tens of thousands of years - through spears, cudgels, daggers

with points - right down to the Victorian Gentleman's walking stick - so necessary for social status.

Walking sticks still play an important part in 21st. Century life - for the disabled - for the elderly -

and for a help up steep hills when taking the dog for a walk. There are also many Continents where

a stick can be essential to guard against snakes - Africa, Australia ans South America come to mind.

Very early on sticks became decorated and elaborated-on to show a person's status. The early

Sumerians and their period - some 8,000 years ago - were probably the forerunners of sticks as

emblems of office. Closely followed by the Egyptians. The Museums in Egypt show many styles

and purposes for sticks or, wands of office. Very many were found in the Boy Pharoah

Tutankhamon's tomb - and each was used for a different purpose and a different ceremonial

occasion.

Their purpose may have varied over the generations - but the generic styles did not. One of the

reasons for a member of nobility to carry a stick, was that it showed he was just that - a nobleman

who did not work with his hands. Also, it never hurt that you held a weapon in your hand at all times.

By the 16th and 17th. Centuries there were a number of refined uses for sticks which represented

Authority. Tipstaffs are a perfect example - the bearer of one could have people arrested and

often seize property. Another example - from a later period - would be Black Rod - carried in the British

Houses of Parliament.

The simple fact is that in homes all over the World, there are walking sticks standing in halls and by doors.

This makes it a perfect article for our member's to submit examples that they have in their families.

I will be showing some pieces that I own - and will also show a number from earlier periods. ADD YOURS ?

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Over 130 walking sticks - for different purposes - were found in the tomb

of Pharoah Tutankhamon. More gilding , but not greatly different to

those 5,000 years later.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

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This statue from the Cairo Museum clearly shows Tutankhamon carrying a long wand of office.

Additionally, he is holding a wooden and gilded Mace. Not dis-similar from our Ceremonial

Maces from 5000 years later.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

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Two good examples of modern walking sticks - but based on much earlier designs.

These came from Tanzania and are made from Ebony - the beautiful black wood that has now

become quite rare. It is one of several woods that will not float - including Teak and Lignum Vitae.

The white tops are Hippopotamus tusks.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

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Hi,

in Ethiopia like in many parts of Africa, on the countryside it is traditional for men to carry a 1m stick,

They are pretty handy.

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This is still a stick - but is known as a shooting stick. In the 18th and 19th Centuries

Gentlemen would spend the day shooting Pheasants (and probably peasants if they got in the way )

Your bearers stood behind you loading your shotguns and you sat on the opened 'shooting stick'.

Your locals 'beat' the bush to drive the birds to with-in easy shot.

This type of portable seat was also useful at sporting events and today, they are very sought after.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

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With the handle closed - making a proper hand grip. The round object unscrews

and is re-screwed to the bottom to prevent the stick sinking in mud.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

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A nice evening Gentleman's dress stick . Solid silver top - 1920's.

The cane is a male Malacca from the Island of Malacca in the Indonesian Islands.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2012/post-6209-0-35062900-1330529615.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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Top of cane

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2012/post-6209-0-31617100-1330529885.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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I have a couple of old Victorian swordsticks.

One with a Toledo blade.

Lethal!

Sherlock Holmes would be proud of them !! :)

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This is a modern walking stick - very heavy walnut with a gold band.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_03_2012/post-6209-0-51422100-1331474584.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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This was my Grandfather's Regimental walking stick - The Leicestershire Regt.

the 17th of Foot. The Tiger is part of their arms. This is a malacca stick and will

date back to the turn of the 20th. Century. The dents were caused by me as a small

child !

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_03_2012/post-6209-0-77192100-1331479302.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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The silver top

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_03_2012/post-6209-0-58806800-1331479816.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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Close-up of head - with Battle Honour Hindustan

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_03_2012/post-6209-0-40314100-1331480013.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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An ordinary looking stick with an outer bamboo covering

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_03_2012/post-6209-0-54289800-1331480200.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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With a very useful umbrella inside. The bamboo covering folds down for the pocket.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_03_2012/post-6209-0-28536100-1331480341.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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Mervyn

What will they think of next? That is really cool! [To use a word form my distant youth!]

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There is a whole system of fighting with the walking stick taught in France. This is much like the stick fighting shcools of the East but designed for modern street defence. Of course it is usually the older members of our society who require the use of a cane but one can just imagine the suprised look on some street hoodlum's face when granny leaves him sitting on the sidewalk with his head "ringing".

When I require a cane I think I will attach a 12 ga. shotgun to it, saves a lot of dojo time. :ninja:

Regards

Brian

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