Throughout history, people have regarded owls with fascination and wonder. Few other creatures have so many varied and contradictory beliefs about them, owls have been both feared and venerated.
In early Indian folklore, owls represented wisdom and helpfulness. As a consequence of their night vision, they were believed to have powers of prophecy- capable of seeing concealed facets of a person or situation and were heralded as powerful predictors of events to come. This symbolism recurs in Aesop’s fables-“The Owl and the Other Birds”- and in Greek myths. In Greek mythology, the Owl was a creature sacred to Athena, goddess of the night who represented wisdom. Athena had a companion owl on her shoulder, which revealed unseen truths to her.
By the Middle Ages in Europe, the owl had become the cohort of witches and the inhabitant of dark, lonesome, and profane places. Its reputation was reduced to a feared specter. An owl’s emergence at night, when others were left vulnerable and blind, linked them with creatures and spirits both mysterious and unknown. Its eerie call signaled a death was imminent or some evil was at hand, its hoot filled people with foreboding and apprehension.
During the eighteenth century, the zoological attributes of owls were detailed through close observation, reducing the mystery that surrounded these animals.
Below are some of our owl prints, available at our gallery in Georgetown or in shop in New York.