What is it?
This traditional tool is known as a palamarka. It is believed to be Bulgarian in origin and was used during the grain harvest. In one hand, the worker held the sickle; the palamarka was worn on the other hand to protect it against blade injuries. (Examples with three individual finger holes can be found as well.) The sheath, as it could be considered, also helped the worker grasp a larger bundle of the crop being cut by using the hook to essentially “catch” the grain for reaping.
Due to the grain direction, we believe the palamarka was carved from a solid piece of wood, possibly apple. It is likely that the user hand carved the shield during the off-season to custom fit his or her hand.