The Natural World
Maya artists produced renderings of types of animals which were significant to the members of society as food, pets or pests. It is difficult to determine if animals depicted on ceramic vessels are parts of purely naturalistic scenes, are related to stories whose texts have not survived from the Classic period or are supernatural creatures. Some of these animals probably represent counterparts of humans, or wayob. Among the present-day Tzotzil Maya of Chiapas it is believed that every individual has an animal counterpart which must be protected from harm in order to stay alive. A person’s status in society determines the kind of wayob he or she possesses.