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 shepherd.

Cultural context

craft; tourist art

Physical description

A figure representing a male standing with three sheep in front him. He is wearing a brimmed hat, a shirt, and knee-length trousers, and he is holding a forked staff. The sheep and clothing are light yellow-brown. Limbs and face are dark brown. The base and staff are light brown wood.