Colorful pictures: Understanding the material of the Mesoamerican precolonial codices

Author(s): Tim Zaman; Ludo Snijders

Year: 2015


In this session the most recent advances are presented of an ongoing interdisciplinary project aimed at better understanding the materials of which, and with which, the Mesoamerican Precolonial codices were made. These materials are as varied as ranging from turquoise from the southern United States to cochineal from Oaxaca, jaguar skins from the tropical areas and Maya Blue from the Yucatan peninsula. As such, this understanding allows for a reconstruction of the whole complex practice of their creation, as well as a reconstruction of the large trade network that underlies this. Furthermore one of these codices is of special interest to this project: the Codex Añute (Selden). As it is a palimpsest, this document has two distinct phases of creation and use. As a result of a collaboration of technical specialists and archaeologists within the project a new technique is being developed. This fully non-invasive technique will allow for the color reconstruction of subsurface features independently of the material composition of the paint. This advantage should allow for a reconstruction of the covered images in this largely organic document.

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Colorful pictures: Understanding the material of the Mesoamerican precolonial codices. Ludo Snijders, Tim Zaman. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398193)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;