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

Slightly backward leaning, egg-shaped orange clay owl is hand painted in black and dark orange over a thin layer of white slip. Extended flat wings, tail with hole beneath it, and most of body are covered with thickly outlined overlapping wings and top is plain with projecting pincer-like beak and conical ear. A few alternating long and short lashes adorn eyes.