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

Pear-shaped, pale orange clay owl is standing on legs that spread out towards front and back at base. Hand painted, tight knit feather pattern in black covers most of white body except for very small stubby striped wings and tail. Eyes are surrounded with short brush strokes that spread out beneath small, dark red, loop beak and cover entire head area.