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Table 2 List of the investigated codices (Type 1: hybrid palygorskite-based Maya blue; Type 2: hybrid palygorskite-based Maya blue possibly obtained with a low indigo content and/or high temperatures; Type 3: hybrid sepiolite-based Maya blue; Type 4: indigo used as dye, or supported on layered clays)

From: Shades of blue: non-invasive spectroscopic investigations of Maya blue pigments. From laboratory mock-ups to Mesoamerican codices

ClassificationNameStoring institutionDescriptionDating, provenanceContentType of bluen° meas.Features (λmax abs)
Mean (SD)
Mean (SD)
Maya Group (Maya Area, Late Postclassic Period)Madrid CodexMuseo de America, Madrid112 pages
ca. 22.6 × 12.2 cm
Amate paper support
Pre-colonial, North-eastern YucatanCalendrical–ritualType 1 (blue areas)11294 (1)666 (2)
Type 2 (grey areas)6s 294a657 (5)
Mixtec Group (Southwest Area, Late Postclassic Period, Early colonial)Codex Zouche-NuttallBritish Museum, London94 pages
ca. 24.3 × 18.4 cm
Animal skin support
Pre-colonial, Tilantongo (state of Oaxaca)Historical–genealogicalType 12290 (2)656 (1)
Codex BodleyBodleian Library, Oxford46 pages
ca. 29 × 26 cm
Animal skin support
Pre-colonial, Tilantongo (state of Oaxaca)Historical–genealogicalCommelina + silicate (original palette)
Type 2 (repainted areas)1289658
Codex SeldenBodleian Library, Oxford40 pages
ca. 27.5 × 27.5 cm
Animal skin support
Colonial, Jaltepec (state of Oaxaca)Historical–genealogicalCommelina + silicate
Borgia Group (Central Mexico, Late Postclassic Period)Codex LaudBodleian Library, Oxford48 pages
ca. 16.5 × 15.5 cm
Animal skin support
Pre-colonial, Southern Puebla/North-western OaxacaCalendrical–ritualType 18294 (0)665 (2)
Codex Fejérváry MayerWorld Museum, Liverpool44 pages
ca. 17.5 × 17.5 cm
Animal skin support
Pre-Colonial, Southern Puebla/North-western OaxacaCalendrical–ritualType 18295 (1)666 (2)
Codex BorgiaBiblioteca Vaticana, Città del Vaticano78 pages
ca. 27 × 26.5 cm
Animal skin support
Pre-colonial, Puebla-Tlaxcala region (Cholula?)
Calendrical–ritualType 2/3 (unusual composition)10vw 295 (2)655 (5)
Codex CospiBiblioteca Universitaria, Bologna40 pages
ca. 18 × 18 cm
Animal skin support
Obverse: pre-colonial, Puebla-Tlaxcala region (Cholula?)
Reverse: pre-colonial, Southern Puebla/North-western Oaxaca
Calendrical–ritualType 18291 (1)662 (5)
Codex Vaticanus BBiblioteca Vaticana, Città del Vaticano98 pages
ca. 15.5 × 13.5 cm
Animal skin support
Pre-colonial, Southern Puebla/North-western Oaxaca. Repainted pages either of pre-colonial or early colonial timesCalendrical–ritualType 38292 (2)647 (3)
Type 46s 289 (3)651 (1)
Early Colonial codicesSelden RollBodleian Library, OxfordSingle strip
ca. 350 × 38 cm
Amate paper support
Colonial, Coixtlahuaca Valley (Oaxaca)HistoricalType 21vw 291657
Codex Vaticanus ABiblioteca Vaticana, Città del Vaticano101 pages
ca. 48 × 37 cm2
European paper support
Colonial; PueblaCalendrical–ritual/historicalType 4 (sometimes mixed with azurite)4650 (1)
Codex MendozaBodleian Library, Oxford142 pages
ca. 31.5 × 21.5 cm2
European paper support
Colonial, Mexico CityHistorical-economicType 14295 (1)663 (1)
Codex TudelaMuseo de America, Madrid238 pages
ca. 22 × 16 cm2
European paper support
Colonial, Mexico CityCalendrical–ritualType 14294 (1)666 (2)
  1. The spectral markers are expressed as average values and standard deviation (in brackets) calculated on the band positions of all the spectra recorded on the blue paints belonging to the same typology on each codex
  2. vw very weak, s sporadic
  3. aThe UV band in the grey areas of the Madrid codex was detected only in one case