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 orange clay pottery owl. Details are painted in brown and orange over a cream white slipped background. Mesh-like feathers cover most of body .The head is marked with several short thick brush strokes. Stubby outlined wings and pointed tail are striped on one side, plain on the other. Ears are rounded and two-tone, beak is a crooked loop, and large pupils are ringed and fringed with multiple eyelashes.