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 figure representing a bareheaded male wearing a short-sleeved shirt and knee-length trousers with both hands on a hoe. Head and limbs are dark brown. Shirt and trousers are light yellow-brown. Hoe is brown wood. On a wooden dark brown stained plywood base covered with scattered shavings and multi-coloured irregular objects.