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 standing, slightly bent with a cylindrical drum on a strap around the neck, and wearing a hat, a short-sleeved shirt, and knee-length trousers with small sticks in both hands. Other figure is standing on the head and forearms wearing knee-length trousers and legs bent forward from hips. Shirt, trousers, and drum head is light yellow-brown. Figures and body of drum are dark brown. Hat is light red-brown. The small sticks are light brown wood. The base is light brown wood stained brown.