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

Figure representing a man wearing short pants, a short-sleeved tunic, and a cap while holding a calabash drum between his hands. Small chips resembling cowrie shells or beads are strung on the outside centre of the calabash. The neck of the calabash is being held in his right hand, and his left hand is against the bottom. Clothes and 'shells' are light yellow-brown. Drums, limbs, and head are dark brown. On a light brown wood base.