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

Figures representing people at a sewing machine and a cloth on the table which is between a standing figure and a figure sitting on a cylindrical stool. Both figures are wearing elbow-length shirts and knee-length pants. The thread on the sewing machine is wound around a thin piece of wood leading to the cloth. Shirt, pants, and stool are light yellow-brown. Heads, limbs, and table legs are dark brown. Table top, and base are light brown wood. The cloth is light brown with blue and orange stripes.