The Mayan Colors | LDS Tours Cancun

Bonampak Mural

Since ancient times, we have found several examples of the use of color pigments or dyes in paintings. Over the centuries there are still examples of different civilizations like the Olmecs, Aztecs, Mayas and Teotihuacan. You can see the use of colored dyes in vases, murals, instruments, ceremonial objects and even special clothing.

Upon the arrival of the Spaniards, they were so astonished by the wealth of natural resources. In particular, the use of dye plants for the production of pigments, which at some point became even more precious and valuable than silver and gold.

The most common colors were red, blue, yellow and green. These dyes can be found in all parts of the plant (depending on the species) in the roots, stems, flowers, seeds, etc. They hardly dye naturally, it is usually necessary to mix or combine them with other ingredients. (Rossignon; 1859)

Mayan artists had a palette of over 30 different colors used in the creation of several murals, especially during the Classic and Post Classic periods. Among the most fascinating colors we appreciate blue and green. The manufacture of these colors represents one of the most outstanding technical contributions of the Maya to the world of traditional painting (Magaloni; 2001: 176, 178).

One color that represents a technological breakthrough in the cultures of Mesoamerica is blue. Blue called ” Mayan blue ” are obtained by mixing the organic dye indigo and clay minerals such as ” attapulgite ” and saponite resulting in a stable organic-inorganic complex and not a naturally occurring mineral. These clays are found only in the Yucatan and Guatemala, hence the reference to the great Mayan culture.

The ” Mayan blue ” is known as the color of the gods, specifically the great Chaac God and is associated with large ceremonial rituals. In the Mayan paintings there has been identified six distinct ” Mayan blue ” hues, however the representative hue is the tone ” blue Caribbean Sea ” or turquoise has caught the attention of many archaeologists for their resistance through the passage of centuries.

If you would like to see the magnificent murals and astonishing colors created by the Mayan culture, be sure to visit the Riviera Maya with Alma’s LDS Tours.

Alma’s LDS Tours offers a great variety of tours where you can keep learning more about the history of this and more Mayan culture.
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