Owl Figure

About this object

Narrative

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

Small egg-shaped gray clay owl has pinkish white slipped body with hand painted details in rusty orange and brown. Wide open beak points up to one side of head that is dotted with a few large spots. Eyes are dramatic red circles with eyelashes that touch both beak and ears.