Cane Handle with Dragons in Relief

Unknown Dutch, Dutch




Overall: 4 15/16 × 1 1/4 × 1 7/8 in. (12.5 × 3.2 × 4.8 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Collection of Roger Arvid Anderson, Class of 1968



Place Made: Netherlands, Europe



Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the dragon’s head motif was popular in European decorative arts, evident in the fine detail on this cane handle. The handle was most likely created in the Netherlands, a center of metalworking in the seventeenth century. The dragon’s scales and sinuous contours are expertly executed, displaying the artist’s mastery of bronze casting. Due to the handle’s diminutive size, it is possible that this handle was a decorative accent on a larger object like a walking stick or a ceremonial staff. The influence of the Chinese dragon on European luxury goods further emphasizes the global trade networks and cultural exchange which defined this period.

Written by Kevin Lian, ’25

From the 2023 exhibition Faith and Empire: The Legacy of Conversion and Commerce in the Early Modern World, curated by students of ARTH 20.04, "Faith and Empire: Art in the Early Modern World" taught by Elizabeth Rice Mattison, Andrew W. Mellon Associate Curator of Academic Programming

Course History

Art History 20.04, Faith and Empire, Beth Mattison, Spring 2023

Exhibition History

Faith and Empire: The Legacy of Conversion and Commerce in the Early Modern World, Class of 1967 Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, August 12-December 23, 2023.


Roger Arvid Anderson Class of 1968); lent to present collection, 2011.

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