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

Hand coiled reddish clay pottery owl. Details are neatly hand painted in dark brown, black and reddish brown over a matte white slipped background. Egg-shaped body with stubby little black striped wings and tail is covered with scalloped feather pattern. The head is marked with dashes which also form a ring around the multi-lash fringed eyes. Two-tone ears bud out from the top and the beak looks more like a snout with a two nostrils.