“When the owl cries, the Indian dies”

Tribal Art Part IV

the owl is a majestic and solitary creature.

Many cultures have different myths and symbols, what an owl stands for.

tribal black and white owl

Afrika: The culture of the Kenyan Kikuyu, it was believed that owls were harbingers of death. If someone saw or heard an owl it meant, that someone was going to die. Even today, many believe, that owls are harbingers of bad luck, illness, or death.

The Americas: In the culture of the Uto-Aztec, Aztecs, Mayas and along with other natives of Mesoamerica, the owls were associated with sorcery, death and other evils. In fact, the Aztec god of death Mictlantecuhtli, was often shown with owls.

An old mexican saying, says: “When the owl cries, the Indian dies”.

thumb_IMG_5790_1024Western Culture: The modern western world generally associates the owl as an animal of wisdom. In Ancient Greece, the patron goddess of wisdom, Athena, had the owl as her symbol. But also in other parts of ower nowadays called europe, the owl was also seen as a funereal bird, a monster of the night, the very abomination of humankind.

In the Finnish culture, the owl has been considered a stupid animal. The Finnish word pöllö means both “owl” and “idiot”.

For me the owl is a majestic creature full of mysteries and deepness in its eyes. It is a divergent animal, elegant but dangerous, sweet but also a predator. For all those different sides, it was the perfect animal to illustrate in a tribal way. I wanted to show how soft but also hard the character of an owl can be.

Let me know your opinion, what do you think about it? Is it death or is it life ?


This artwork is for sale as printouts. If you want a certain measurements please write me and I will make you a custom offer.

Copyright by MCL


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