Zuni artist Erma Homer has handcrafted her interpretation of the Zuni owl. Owls can see what others cannot, and this is a large part of Owl Medicine.
The Zuni Pueblo people call the owl "the Night Grandfather" because he does his work at night. Clairvoyant properties and uncovering deception have always been associated with owl. Its connection with wisdom comes from Owl's ability to discern that which cannot be "seen."
- Owl figurine handmade by Erma Homer (Zuni)
- Natural clay with all-natural vegetal and mineral slip
- Figurine/Storyteller measures 2-3/4” high x 3-3/4” long x 3-3/4” wide
- Comes with a signed Certificate of Authenticity
Handcrafted works of Native American art require special care. For more information about proper care and cleaning, please read our Care Guide.
Erma is the daughter of Jack and Quanita Kalestewa. Her grandmother, Nellie Bica (Quanita’s mother), is perhaps the most famous Zuni Potter, and was well-known for her owl effigies. Erma’s sisters, Roweena Lemention and Connie Yatsayte, are also potters.
The Kalestewa family is highly regarded for their traditional pottery and are noted for firing their pottery outside. Erma sometimes collaborates with her husband, Fabian Homer. Erma forms the pottery and Fabian paints the pottery.
Making pottery is a centuries-old art in Zuni. In the 19th century, Zuni pottery-making thrived, and works from this classic period can be identified by their designs: the “deer-in-house” or heartline deer, which is a deer with a spirit line running through it, as well as rosettes and rain birds. Pots from this period often featured brown slip on the base, rim, and interior. After the 1920s, traditional pottery-making declined as Zuni artists focused more on jewelry, which was far more popularity with tourists. Jewelry became a staple of the Zuni economy as the distinctive Zuni style of petit point cluster jewelry and channel inlay grew in popularity.
Traditional pottery-making was revived in the 1970s by Hopi potter Daisy Hooee Nampeyo, granddaughter of famed potter Nampeyo, and Acoma potter Jennie Laate. Today, more and more Zuni artists are making exceptional pottery from handmade natural clay, some with the traditional deer, rain bird, and rosette designs. Many create pottery in more contemporary styles, incorporating stylized lizards, frogs, dragonflies, feathers, and hatched lines that represent rain. Black-on-red and black or brown on a white background are popular colors, though contemporary Zuni potters are creating fine art pottery in a range of beautiful colors.
Native American and Pueblo people of the Southwest have been making clay pottery figures since ancient times. Their creation was discouraged by Christian missionaries and the form was not widely practiced in the 16th–19th centuries. Figurative pottery was revived in the 20th century and clay figurines have since become one of the most popular and widely collected Native American art forms.
Storytellers are a type of clay figure that is unique to the Southwest. They were developed by Helen Cordero of Cochiti Pueblo in 1963, and traditionally depict a male elder telling stories to children, all with open mouths. Cordero was inspired by the traditional “Singing Mother” figure often represented in clay, and by her grandfather, a legendary Cochiti storyteller.
In Pueblo culture, stories are passed down orally from generation to generation, and the storyteller figure represents the importance of the storytelling tradition. Today, Native artists across the Southwest create storytellers, sometimes depicting the elder and children as clowns, drummers, acrobats, cowboys, or animals, and handcrafted figurative pottery continues to be one of the most exciting, colorful, and successful pottery forms.Read our Native American Pottery Collector's Guide.
At Shumakolowa Native Arts, we guarantee that your purchase is an original and authentic work handcrafted by Native American artists as defined by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. We ask our artists to complete an extensive certification process, providing a CIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood) card and other documentation of their Native American heritage. Our team of experts carefully inspects every product to guarantee it is handcrafted using traditional, sustainable processes, and natural materials of only the highest quality. We record the place and date of each purchase, and pride ourselves in paying a fair price that allows artists to make a living practicing their craft. Every work of handcrafted art comes with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by an artist or buyer.
At a time when many commercially made products are being sold as handcrafted Native American art, our in-depth purchase process allows us to guarantee the authenticity of every unique piece of fine art we offer. For more than 35 years, we have made it a priority to visit artists in their studio or home to purchase their latest handcrafted pieces and learn about their work. We have developed lasting relationships with artists, as well as dealers and collectors, and we take pride in being a trusted destination for fine Native American art.