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

A representation of a sitting chief wearing an ankle length robe and a crown-like pointed hat while holding a rolled up sheet of cloth. An attendant wearing a short-sleeved shirt and knee-length trousers is standing behind the chief holding an umbrella. The umbrella head, arms, and legs are dark brown. Cloth sheath is light red-brown. Clothes and umbrella stand are light yellow-brown. The base is light brown wood.