In ancient times, colors had a special meaning for the Maya culture.
In the Maya civilization, art was colorful and lively. For this reason, they worked with a wide variety of hues highlighting the use of primary colors. These were combined to create new ones to use for their paintings, attires, decorative ornaments, among other objects. If there is something that defines Maya colors, it is their great intensity.
The Maya and the colors
Nowadays, most Maya temples are presented before us with the gray color of the rocks that compose them. The colors are not well reflected due to the passage of time, humidity, etc. But it is known that, back then, all these edifications were full of bright colors. Red was their favorite for temples and pyramids, but they also used green, yellow, white, and even black, which served to frame their figures.
The dyes used by the Maya were of mineral and plant-based origin. They were used in paintings with certain chromatic symbolism. The colors are a reflection of the lost world inhabited by the Maya culture.
Dean Arnold, professor of Anthropology at Wheaton College and curator of the Field Museum in Chicago, discovered in 2010 the technique used by the Maya to achieve the famous bright blue, which was made using indigo and palygorskite (a type of clay). Arnold has shown that the palygorskite comes from mines located in two places in the north of the Yucatán peninsula: Ticul and Salacuim. And that, currently, the modern Maya continue to use to make their dyes.
Meaning of Maya colors
"Mexico is of very intense colors ... no matter where you look at it. It is an explosion of color that is reflected in everything that surrounds you; gastronomy, architecture, clothing, crafts, and even in its changing nature." -Dean Arnold-
This is why the Maya colors had strong meanings for them and their lives, as sacred as their own gods. Further, recognizing the composition of these and the durability, as well as History itself.
Translated by Gaby Flores
Photos from Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay