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 plantain seller.

Cultural context

craft; tourist art

Physical description

Figure representing a woman wearing a multi-pointed hat, a sleeveless dress with a sling around her waist to support a baby on her back, and she is sitting on a cylindrical stool facing a small table on a cylindrical base. There are three bunches of plantain on the table. Heads, limbs, and table are dark brown. Dress and stool are light yellow-brown. Hat and plantain are light red-brown. The wood base is light brown.