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

Egg-shaped pale orange clay owl has tight-knit mesh feather pattern hand painted over a white slipped body. Eye rings, sharp conical ears and pincer-like beak are dark orange and the eyes and beak are fringed with lashes and whiskers. Under the tail is a tiny hole.