Pique headed cane with Malacca shaft
Wood, ivory, silver
Doctors in the 18th century could be easily spotted because they typically carried a cane. Often, these canes could conceal snuff, liquor, or sweet-smelling herbs. In this example, the ivory head can be unscrewed and filled with herbs that could be sniffed through the small holes. Sniffing aromatic herbs was thought to ward off disease, which was believed to spread via miasma (bad air) or bad odours.
Piqué is a French decorative technique using small gold or silver pins to create a simple inlaid design, usually featuring floral, geometric or circular motifs.
Part of the exhibition Unfamiliar.