Maya Blue, developed by the Maya who ruled Mesoamerica from about 290 to 900 C.E., is a remarkable pigment based on a blue dye precipitated onto clay. The blue is perhaps the most striking color used by Maya artists, a color so extraordinary that it generated much research and debate among scientists for more than 50 years. What is particularly interesting about Maya Blue is that, despite long exposure to light and high humidity for centuries, it hardly fades. Its unprecedented stability, defies exposure to alkalies, acids and chemical solvents. Maya Blue is a mixture of both inorganic (paylgorskite clay) and organic (blue dye) elements -- no known organic pigments today can come close to the stability of Maya Blue over so many years.
Rublev Colours Aqueous Dispersions are pigments dispersed in water ready to be mixed with water-based mediums. These dispersions are especially made for use with traditional painting mediums, such as egg tempera, casein tempera, fresco, watercolors and distemper (glue tempera). They are also ideally suited for use with gesso to make toned grounds for drawing and painting. Pigment dispersions from Rublev Colours contain only naturally-derived ingredients, in addition to pigment and water, making them ideally suited for traditional mediums. Unlike other pigment dispersions that are typically made for acrylic medium, Rublev Colours Aqueous Dispersions do not contain coalescent solvents, artificial dispersing resins and other additives that interfere with natural mediums. Aqueous Dispersions make preparing traditional mediums easy; you do not have to hassle with powders, grinding pigments in medium and calculating binder ratios to make water-based paint. They make adding the right amount of paint binder, such as egg yolk, a no brainer because the right amount of water is already contained in the dispersion, simply add egg yolk.
Origin and History
||English: Maya blue
French: bleu de Maya
German: Maya Blau
Italian: azzurro di Maya
Spanish: azul Maya
Maya Blue was developed by the Maya occupying Mesoamerica for the first millennium C.E. Today, a U.S. company has unlocked the secrets of Maya Blue and patented the process to create hybrid organic/inorganic pigments based on research to find the origin of the blue color.
Our Maya Blue is made by Mayan Pigments, and is based on the process they developed that recreates the Maya blue pigment found in Mesoamerican artifacts and archaelogical sites. The process involves heat-treating synthetic indigo dye with palygorskite (also known as attaplugite) clay.
Permanence and Compatibility
Maya Blue is stable in acids, alkalis, and solvents, so it is suitable for almost all artists' mediums, including fresco and casein.
Oil Absorption and Grinding
Maya Blue absorbs a moderately high amount of oil (65 grams of linseed oil per 100 grams of pigment) to make a paste.
Maya Blue is not considered toxic, however, care should be used in handling the dry powder pigment to avoid inhaling the dust.
Rublev Colours Pigment: Maya Blue
||Pigment Blue 82
||Organic dye precipitated on clay
|ASTM Lightfastness Rating
|Particle Size, Average:
||65 g oil/100 g pigment