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

Figure representing a dentist wearing a short-sleeved tunic, short pants, and a soft pointed hat. The dentist is standing holding the right hand of his patient with his left hand. The patient is wearing a sleeveless tunic, and short pants, and is sitting on a stool. The dentist is placing a y-shaped wooden implement in the patient's mouth. There are similar implements on a table. The table, tunics, and stool are light yellow-brown. Hat is light red-brown. Limbs and heads are dark brown. Base is brown plywood.