Late 19th, early 20th C. SOUTHWESTERN VIRGINIA, FOLK CARVED LETTER OPENER; Found in Roanoke County, VA, circa 1880. Hand-carved walnut w/ elliptical handle and “blade.” The handle carefully carved w/ a rattlesnake coiled around it & w/ nice old patina. The design of this piece likely derives from the tradition of carving “snake” canes, walking sticks carved w/ snakes coiled around the shaft. This design is thought to have been brought from Africa by enslaved African-Americans, & derived from carved wooden elder’s staffs. A fine, though small, example of Southern Folk Art.