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 man wearing a sleeveless shirt and knee-length pants is climbing a palm tree with an adze on his left shoulder. He is being supported by a rope belt. Palm nuts on the tree and on the base which is plywood covered by variegated thorn shavings. Heads, limbs, adze, and palm tree are dark brown. Clothing is light yellow-brown. Palm nuts are light red-brown.