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

Lopsided gourd-shaped, orange clay owl holding a fish or stick in its beak has shiny cream coloured body and hand painted brown, overlapping feather pattern, finely striped wings and tail, dotted face, and long, fringed beak. Rounded ears that are flattened at the front and slightly raised eyes are in two-tone brown and orange.