EUSKAL HERRIKO ORITZAPENA
The makila is the Basque stick, used either as fellow traveller or sign of authority.
It is an entirely hand-made and elegant stick whose manufacturing process has been maintained over various centuries.
The reliefs of the piece of wood proceed from incising the wild medlar in the forest. This operation causes the sap that rises through the tree branch to swerve round the cuts and to form the designs that characterise the makila.
The branch is cut in winter, peeled in a furnace, stained with quicklime and heat straightened.
The so prepared rod is adorned at the bottom with a brass, alpaca or silver ring carefully hand-engraved with Basque motifs.
The other end of the rod is topped with a horn grip fixed by means of a threaded sleeve covered with plaited leather.
For the so-called makila of honour, the grip is entirely of silver or alpaca.
It is a custom to offer a makila to anybody one wishes to honour and who visits Euskal Herria (the Basque Country).
The art of making Makila is still kept alive, for example by the Alberdi family in Irun: http://www.alberdimakila.com/en/alberdi-makila.html