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

Two figures representing people. One is sitting on a cylindrically based chair with a back and is wearing a pointed cap, knee-length pants, and a short-sleeved shirt. The second figure is bareheaded, standing, and wearing similar clothing. He is holding a cylindrical container to the face of the sitting figure. Between the figures, there is a circular table with six containers. Clothing and four containers are light yellow-brown. Heads, limbs, chair, and table are dark brown. Three containers are light red-brown. On a wood base.