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

Large, gourd-shaped, hand made, orange clay owl lost its tail during original firing. Hand painted black scallop feathers extend from lower body up over neck to base of orange ears and top of black ridged beak that crosses spotted head and hangs down over open mouth to touch bottom lip. Orange eyes are set in slightly recessed eye sockets.