The makhila is a steel-tipped cane made from beautiful red medlar wood, with a spike in its handle and a strap to hold it up. This is how visitors described it in the 19th century.
It can be seen in a series of watercolours dating back to 1823. This series brings together around a hundred illustrations representing different trades from that time: fisherman, cook, baker, etc. Most of the characters have a makhila. These drawings show just how much the makhila was used in everyday life in the Basque Country.
The historian Philippe Veyrin described these representations of this Basque tradition from this period: “Trousers began to replace the previous century’s knickerbockers, which continued to resist for a while. The makhila, more debonair in appearance, replaced spears, prods, daggers and swords” (translated from the French version of the work).
Felix Morel, in Bayonne, historic views and descriptions, described in 1936 the inhabitants of the Basque Country as follows:
““Basques wearing espartilles, made from velvet, with long floating hair, blue beret and national maquila” (translated from the work’s French version)