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

Squat orange clay owl has creamy white slipped body onto which overlapping feathers, wings and tail with one striped side, and an outlined head area have been hand painted in varying shades of brown. Big eyes with multiple short lashes, rounded flattened ears and a loop beak that projects to the side are two-tone orange and brown.