Thorn Carving

About this object

History of use

Thorn carvings are miniatures depicting scenes from Nigerian life. This type of carving began circa 1930. Thorns vary in size, they can be as large as 12.7 cm. long and 9.6 cm. wide; they are comparatively soft and easily carved. The light yellow-brown thorn and the dark brown thorn come from the Ata tree; the light red-brown thorn comes from Egun trees. The parts are glued together with viscous paste made from rice cooked with water. They are carved by men.

Cultural context

craft; tourist art

Physical description

Carved figure representing a man sitting on a stool with hands placed on a conical drum (membranophone). Feet outstretched supporting drum. Figure is wearing a loose fitting short-sleeved shirt extending to his knees. Head, arms, legs, drum base, and stool are dark brown. The drum head and shirt are light yellow-brown. Rectangular base is attached by glue and is light brown partially stained dark brown.