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 has details hand painted in brown and burnt orange onto a whitish slipped and polished background. Stylized feather patterning covers most of body while wings and tail are striped on one side, the other is plain. Small two-tone ears and a looped beak protrude in three directions from the outlined, spotted head and large eyes are ringed with multiple eyelashes.