The Mayans developed a unique artistic style with a degree of complexity that rivals that of European baroque. Their extremely life-like, anatomically proportionate human images are found in natural poses that emphasize movement. Their art represented sacred, ritual and hierarchical themes, although they also reproduced scenes from daily life and images of local fauna such as monkeys, tapirs, jaguars, bats, quetzal birds, fish and turtles. Stone was one of their favorite media, and they used it for their buildings, stelas, and the low- and high-relief sculptures that adorned their buildings. The Mayan’s architectural contributions include the stela-altar, the arch and the false vault. In addition to monumental art they also had a highly developed personal esthetic, manufacturing ear ornaments, pendants, necklaces, masks and other adornments out of jade. They deformed their craniums and noses and hung ornaments on their foreheads to make them squint-eyed.
They decorated their pottery with painted and engraved images, producing some of the finest works of pre-Columbian art. Popular Mayan ceramic pieces included serving bowls, pipes and vases, the last of these often adorned with Mayan glyphs.