Scholar's Commentary

This carved vessel from northern Yucatan has two different faces. On what may be called the kind of secondary face, we actually have a series of hieroglyphs that record little more than the owner of the vessel.

But on the other side we have an intricate carved scene that portrays two creatures in animated conversation: a woodpecker on the left, and an owl on the right.

Embedded hieroglyphs and symbols tell us that the woodpecker had red feathers and that the owl had white feathers, and small incised hieroglyphs embedded in the pictorial art actually tell us what they were saying to one another.

Sadly we can't read all of what passes between these two birds, but there's always the hope that future discoveries will clarify this ancient conversation for us.

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