By: Emily Sabens, Public Relations Intern

Today is National Love Your Pet Day. According to the American Pet Products Association, 68 percent of households across the U.S. own a pet. At the David Owsley Museum of Art, we have many works of art that feature everything from Fido to felines.

1. Dog


Unidentified Craftsman, Pre-Columbian. Dog, 99 BCE-250 CE. Earthenware and slip. David Owsley Museum of Art. Gift of the Alconda-Owsley Foundation. 1989.020.003

Dogs are faithful, outgoing and let’s face it, adorable – which is why they are one of the most popular pets in the U.S. Scientists say canines have been man’s best friend for thousands of years.

“Dog” was made around 99 BCE to 250 CE. Although created centuries ago, the sculpture depicts a pup who appears like the dogs we see today – ears poised, an open mouth that could be taken as a smile and bright, open eyes.

This sculpture is known as a canine effigy figure, which are often found in Colima tombs. Scholars aren’t sure what exactly these dogs represent. Many believe these sculptures represent the entombed person’s pet, guiding its owner to the afterlife. (Others scholars think dogs were forced fed for consumption during ritual ceremonies – but since it’s National Love Your Pet Day, let’s go with the first choice.)

2. Feline Effigy Metate with Mano


Unidentified Artist, Pre-Columbian (Costa Rica, Nicoya Region). Feline Effigy Metate with Mano, 300-699. Carved rhyolitic volcanic stone with inlaid shell. David Owsley Museum of Art. Part of the David T. Owsley Collection. L1992.018.002a-b

Americans own more than 94 million cats. While they may not always be as social as dogs, felines are inquisitive, playful and super cute.

While “Feline Effagy Metate with Mano” doesn’t depict the cuddly and curious creature we know today, it does represent a jaguar, an ancestor to the domesticated cat. This piece was made around 300-699 by an unidentified Pre-Columbian artist.

3. Horse


Unidentified Artist, Chinese (Han Dynasty). Horse, 206 BCE-9 CE. Formed, fired and painted terracotta. David Owsley Museum of Art. Gift of David T. Owsley. 2013.019.085a-b

Horses and humans have formed special relationships for years. Domesticated by Asian nomads around 4,000 years ago, horses served as a way to travel for many societies before the invention of the engine.

Today, though, horses still play an important role to over 2 million people.

We have many works at DOMA that feature horses—including “Horse,” made by an unidentified artist during the Chinese Han Dynasty.

4. Covered Tripod Bird Vessel


Unidentified Artist, Pre-Columbian (Mexico, Maya culture). Covered Tripod Bird Vessel, 250-900. Formed and fired glazed earthenware. David Owsley Museum of Art. Part of the David T. Owsley Collection. L2012.007.002 a-b

While not the most popular pet choice, many people choose a bird for its intelligence, low-maintenance and, in some cases, its ability to hold a conversation with you.

“Covered Tripod Bird Vessel” was created between 250 and 900 by an unidentified Pre-Columbian artist and was lent to the museum by David Owsley.