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.


Depicting women's activity of hair dressing.

Cultural context

craft; tourist art

Physical description

Figures representing a woman wearing a pointed hat with a baby tied to her waist, and whe sitting on a circular stool while combing the hair of a woman seated on the ground. Clothing, hat, and baby sling are light yellow-brown. Heads, arms, legs, and stool are dark brown. Comb is light red-brown. The base is light brown wood.