Codex-style Vessel, Maya culture, c. 550-950, ceramic with monochrome decoration, 3½” h., Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Photo by FA2010, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons. © 2013 . All rights reserved.

Just a Second: Codex-Style Vessel

Codex-Style Vessel (noun)

A codex-style vessel is a vessel that was made in the ancient Mayan culture in Mesoamerica that has illustrations on it that resembles those in a book, or codex.

This vessel, which was created during the late classical period, shows at the left a Pawahtun, who is a god of Mayan scribes, instructing two pupils.  He is reading from a codex in the ground using a pointer; the bar and dot numbers in front of him are attached to a speech thread that comes from his mouth.

These vessels with their elegant line illustrations give us some idea of what books from this period may have looked like, which is helpful since no codices from the classical period survive.