Owl Figure

About this object


Pottery owls became important tourist items when the railroad and then Route 66 allowed for large numbers of tourists to travel to the Southwest. This collection of 192 Zuni pottery owls includes examples from before 1900 through 2006. Zuni potters continue to make owls and family traditions in the medium continue. While many younger potters are innovating, the owls are distinctly Zuni.

Iconographic meaning

In traditional Zuni lore, the owl is considered a wise guardian and protector. An owl’s ability to see at night means that it sees what others cannot, giving it understanding of the spiritual and physical world.

Physical description

Hand coiled pinkish clay pottery owl. Details are hand painted in brown on a buff slipped matte background. Mesh-like feather pattern covers most of body and upper surfaces of the long wings and tail which slope out from head and down to almost touch ground. Face is flat. Eight lashes fringe eye rings around a dark pupil. A small loop beak and large conical ears protrude from head.