Walking stick handle, Bapst et Falize, c. 1880 - c. 1890
Close examination of this walking stick handle reveals the interwoven figures of a rat and a snake, both of which appear in the Japanese zodiac. The French silversmith drew his inspiration from Japanese netsukes, the carved toggles on kimono sashes. Netsukes could be made of many different materials. They were enthusiastically collected in France from 1860 onward.