Writing was independently invented in five areas of the ancient world: Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, the Indus Valley, and Mesoamerica. Of these, the Maya glyphic system stands out for its creation of syllabic and pictorial writing, in the most visually diverse scripts ever conceived. The writing was recorded on a wide variety of media that include ceramics, stone, wood, shell, textiles, animal hides, and screen-fold codex books. Although most of the materials are lost forever due to decay and destruction, much of this priceless literary cultural heritage survives on Maya vessels and artifacts.