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Bonampak paintings

Located in the modern state of Chiapas, Bonampak is a Classic Period Maya site along the Usumacinta river. This is where many of the magnificent Maya murals were discovered in 1946. These paintings reveal the rich court life enjoyed by the Maya during the eighth century. The murals are among the finest to survive. The Maya were masters at mural painting using a vivid palette of blue, green, red, orange, and brown to great effect. Flat color was applied to sculpted or smooth surfaces, with variation usually achieved by diluting the pigment, as in thin washes of codex-style pottery painting rather than mixing pigments. Maya color was often translucent, so overlapping strokes would cause changes in hue. Paint was applied to fill in shapes, usually defined by the outlines. Colors were bright pigments from mineral sources, such as iron oxides, and were rarely mixed to produce different colors, with the exception of the mixing of yellow and blue to produce green. Color was used naturalistically as in the clothing of a king, but it also had symbolic value. Sometimes the color that appears on monuments and murals bears no relationship to real life objects.

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