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

Standing figure representing a man hilling yams with a hoe-like instrument. The yams are covered with variegated chips. The man is wearing a short-sleeved shirt hanging in loose folds and knee-length trousers. He is wearing a soft pointed cap. Shirt and trousers are light yellow-brown. Head and limbs are dark brown. Hat is light red-brown. The base and hoe-like instruments are light brown wood.