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.


Depicts a dancer and a drummer.

Cultural context

craft; tourist art

Physical description

Two standing figures representing people facing each other. One is holding a conical drum and is wearing an elbow-length-sleeved shirt, knee-length pants, and a small conical hat. The other figure is wearing a short skirt over knee-length pants and is bare chested with arms bent upwards at elbows. Clothing and drum head are light yellow-brown. Bodies, limbs of figures, and body of drum are dark brown. Hat is light red-brown. Base is light brown wood stained brown.