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.


Man's activities: basket maker (collector's notes).

Cultural context

craft; tourist art

Physical description

Figure representing a sitting person on a cylindrical stool wearing a soft pointed hat, a sleeveless shirt, and knee-length trousers. Holding, in the figure's left hand, the outer edge of a conically shaped basket, and in the figure's right hand, one of two leaves attached to the edge of the basket. Head and limbs are dark brown. Clothing, basket, and stool are light yellow-brown. The base is light brown wood.