Bamboo

The largest member of the grass family, bamboo grows very rapidly in a kind of tree shape.  Unlike Malacca, bamboo is hollow.   Lightweight, sturdy and durable, bamboo was used to make virtually anything, including canes, popular in the early 20th century.  The canes from the Edwardian and Victorian periods featured shiny, polished bamboo with curved handles, and often embellished shafts. Bamboo canes sometimes had silver handles.  Metal-topped canes were popular during this time and simple silver knob handles fitted to sectioned bamboo walking sticks are noted. Bamboo canes were sometimes oxidized to give the canes a fuller finish, and although bamboo is not scratch resistant, antique bamboo is usually found in good condition if the canes were well made and properly taken care of.

Although rarely seen anymore, bamboo was once used to make many different types of weapons. From blow guns to sword canes, bamboo made light but strong weapons for many centuries.  Even gunpowder guns have been made with the hollow tubes.

Whangee Bamboo
Whangee refers to any of over forty Asian grasses of the genus Phyllostachys, a genus of bamboos. They are a hardy evergreen plant from Japan, China and the Himalayas whose woody stems were often used to make canes and umbrella handles. The word derives from the Chinese (Mandarin) huáng lí. It can also refer to a cane made from whangee. Charlie Chaplin’s character, The Little Tramp, is famously known for his whangee cane and John Steed, the dapper secret agent from television’s The Avengers, was known for carrying an umbrella with a whangee handle. See picture below.

141a-Japanese bamboo cane (2)
Japanese hand carved bamboo, total length 36″, knob is a carved bird approximately 4.25″. Atypical form in that top is not root ball but carved bird. Cane is completely carved except for the bottom 9.5″ which is not. Carving shows two birds in addition to the carved bird knob, with Japanese man with long pole trying to catch the top bird. There is and old crack in the bamboo (very typical) near the bottom but stick remains stable.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Bamboo cane with segmented knob handle made from the bamboo root ball, fitted to smooth bamboo shaft.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
35” in length, small piece missing on the egg. Handle is chick breaking out of egg. Much detail to both chick and egg. Chick and egg may both be ivory, perhaps bone. Chick is light color, egg is brown, perhaps stained ivory? Egg has some cracks, but condition is good. Handle about 2” long and 1” high. Shaft is Whangee (or Pearl) bamboo, which is rare. Ulrich Klever’s book “Walking Sticks” offers that Wangee bamboo, which is its Chinese name, is elastic, can be bent, yet is very strong. The knots are very closely spaced (about 6 cm.) and have scars like fine threads. Charlie Chaplin’s cane was made from this wood. The natural bark glaze is dense and hard.
082- Exposed sword
Early 19th century sword cane with ½” silver cap, oval silver eyelets and brass ferrule. Friction lock. Total length: 35”. Ferrule is 5-1/4” in length and steel blade 26-1/2” long.

082- bamboo sword cane 082- Blade and ferrule

For antique cane and walking stick enthusiasts