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I have been collecting canes for years, and am fascinated by the endless variety and imagination of some carvers. I have purchased several canes that incorporate an outline of a bee and in one case an entire bumblebee carved in relief and fully painted on the head of a person that makes up the handle. Most of these seem to date to the late 1800's/early 1900's period. Does anyone here know what is the significance of the bee symbol?
 

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Welcome!

I don't know any special symbolism associated with bees, though I wouldn't be surprised to learn there is some.

Many canes reflected the person's profession. It could be at least some of them were owned by bee keepers. It could be they just liked bees too. Kind of like a cane with a favorite breed of dog carved on it. Without being able to speak with the owners I think it's unlikely you'll know why they chose bees on their canes and what they meant to them.
 

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The owner/maker of the cane might have been a Mormon. The bee holds some significance with the LDS as a symbol of perseverance, industry, and such, and a bee hive can be seen on the state flag of Utah where the LDS are centered.

Or, like Rodney suggested, maybe they just liked bees.
 
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