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 and carved by men and 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.


This thorn carving was made specifically for the donors by the artist.

Cultural context

craft; tourist art

Specific techniques

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.

Physical description

Figure representing a woman weaving. She is sitting in front of a loom. Cloth is on the loom. Baby is in a sling attached to her back. The dress, hat, sling, and loom are light yellow-brown. Figures' heads and limbs are dark brown. The cloth on the loom is green, black, and white plaid. On a wood base that is light brown.