Images on Late Preclassic (300 B.C.–A.D. 250) monuments from Izapa, Chiapas, Mexico, featuring canoe scenes, maize deities, and water gods, have long been interpreted as representing mythic passages. While significant, such interpretations neglect other aspects of the scenes, including environmental and socioeconomic concerns that revolve around rain, subsistence, and water transport. By contextualizing these images and linking them to recent archaeological investigations that illuminate aspects of the Late Preclassic economy of Izapa, I argue that the scenes strategically situated economic activities— maize agriculture, the trade and transport of goods in canoes, even salt production—within a mythic framework. The images constitute an artistic program that entwined mythic tales, industries of salt production, and traditions of water navigation and that phrased them as part of a system of social order during a period of incipient state formation.