Makila Walking Stick Hidden weapon Medlar tree Sheepherders

1992.003.003

Catalog Date: 
07/21/2009
Gparent: 
3: Personal Artifacts
Notes: 
Makila made by Alberdi, a company in the Basque Country. Es 15234208c Descarga 6 20303 Irun, Spain Phone: (01134) 94.36.28.047 Fax: (01134) 94.36.21.418 A makila is a traditional Basque walking stick. The design of the makila is centuries old, and remains largely unchanged. There is little information known on its exact origin, but it may possibly be related to medieval times, as a concealable derivative of a particular form of lance or hunting spear. The manufacturing process is as rooted in tradition as the finished product, and can take years to complete. It begins in spring, with the craftsman selecting a suitable branch from a medlar tree and carving a design into the living wood while it is still attached. The branch is left alone until late fall, during which the wood heals and expands the design on its surface. The craftsman must then return to where he found the tree and cut the branch down. The bark is then stripped off and the shaft is straightened out using careful heating in a kiln. After this, the stick must be dried by being stored for several years. Once this has happened, the wood is stained using a secret method, and then fitted with the various metal bands and fittings. The craftsman will sign his work with his family symbol or name, and also will engrave the handle or pommel with the recipients name, family crest or other text as requested. The makila is a practical walking stick and a weapon for self-defense. They were (and still are) carried by shepherds to help guide their flocks as well as defend against wolves and other wild predators. They are carried by hunters and hikers in the Basque country as walking aids, and they are used in traditional folk dances. The makila can be swung by the handle for fast, light strikes or used the opposite way to strike with the pommel as an effective bludgeon. The concealed spike can be used to deadly effect either as a thrusting weapon, or thrown as a last resort.
Object Name: 
Stick, walking
Parent: 
Personal Gear
People: 
Andrus, Cecil D.
Provenance: 
One Makila (Basque walking stick) from Governor Cecil D. Andrus.
Record As: 
Gift
Record Date: 
11/19/92
Record From: 
Andrus, Governor Cecil D.
Subjects: 
Makila Walking Stick Hidden weapon Medlar tree Sheepherders
A. Stick/ spear: Dark brown stained wood; 3 wavy vertical raised lines on lower 3/4 of stick; top and bottom have engraved metal pieces; bottom comes to a point; top has movable metal loop attached; engraved; braided leather strap looped through metal piece; end of metal strap/handle is leather ball; top metal engraving has the words "HITZ HITZA"; top of stick/spear has shiny sharp metal point; point fits into top piece that gives the stick the appearance of a walking stick B.
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