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 standing figure representing a person wearing a soft pointed hat, a short-sleeved shirt, and knee-length trousers is holding, in both hands, an inverted container with six coconuts in it. On the ground at the feet of the figure, there are five coconuts. The head and limbs are dark brown. Clothing and container are light yellow-brown. Hat and coconuts are light red-brown. Base is light brown wood.