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

Pear-shaped orange clay owl, with up a baby owl on the tip of each striped wing, has widely-spaced short legs and stands on large orange feet, each with three toes front, one back spur and a hole in the base. Body details on all three owls are hand painted in dark brown and orange over a beige slipped background. Adult owl has five large spots on the top of her head.