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Cane with Hand, Alligator, and Snake

probably 20th century Unidentified carved wood 33 1/4 x 4 1/8 x 1 3/8 in. (84.4 x 10.5 x 3.6 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.9 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 28A

Luce Center Label

Artists decorate canes with a wide variety of images, from traditional carvings of snakes and birds, to nude women, political figures, and celebrities. Some artists highlight the natural shape of the wood by applying relief designs onto twisted branches and roots, while others carve three-dimensional shapes into the shaft. Images of animals are the most popular decoration, but many canes also show patriotic, fraternal, and political themes. (George Meyer, American Folk Art Canes, 1992)


Animal - reptile - alligator

Animal - reptile - snake

Figure - fragment - hand


folk art