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 figure representing a man wearing a loose fitting collarless shirt with elbow-length sleeves and knee-length trousers. Standing upright with a slightly bent head. He is playing a megaphone-shaped blown instrument with the mouth piece in his mouth and the body being held near the flaring end with both hands. The instrument has three holes in the centre of the upper surface. Figure's head and limbs are dark brown. Clothes and instrument are light yellow-brown. On a wood base.