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

Modern, egg-shaped, orange clay owl with flat head has white slipped body with all details hand painted in black except for tiny red loop beak and rounded orange ears. Tight-knit feather pattern covers all but the tips of the wings and tail that seem to blend into the body and the top of the head is banded with curvy motifs. Eyes have very long lashes.