Late addition (July 2019)
Please forgive this postscript, correction, “prescript”, correction, intrusion, added many years later – based on some 350 and more postings here and elsewhere.
That’s including some 7 years of my hands-on investigation into image-forming techniques, chosen to be credible with simple, indeed crude, medieval (14th century) technology etc etc.
(Oh, and yes, I accept the radiocarbon dating, despite it being restricted to a single non-random corner sample, making all the oh-so-dismissive, oh-so-derogatory statistics-based sniping totally irrelevant – a ranging shot being just that me dears- a single ranging shot, albeit subdivided into three for Arizona, Oxford and Zurich).
Sindonology (i.e. the “science” , read pseudoscience – of the so-called “Shroud ” of Turin) can be simply summed up. It’s a re-branding exercise, one designed to pretend that the prized Turin possession is not just J of A’s “fine linen”, described in the biblical account as used to transport a crucified body from cross to tomb.
Oh no, it goes further, much further, way way beyond the biblical account. How? By making out that it was the SAME linen as that described in the Gospel of John, deployed as final “burial clothes”. Thus the description “Shroud” for the Turin Linen, usually with the addition “burial shroud”. Why the elision of two different linens, deployed for entirely different purposes (transport first, then final interment)?
Go figure! Key words to consider are: authentic relic v manufactured medieval icon; mystique, peaceful death-repose, unlimited opportunity for proposing new and ever more improbable image-formation mechanisms etc. How much easier it is to attach the label “Holy” to Shroud if seen as final burial clothes, in final at-peace repose – prior to Resurrection- as distinct from a means of temporary swaying side-to-side transport in an improvised makeshift stretcher !
As I say, a rebranding exercise (transport to final burial shroud) and a very smart and subtle one at that . Not for nothing did that angry local Bishop of Troyes suddenly refer to a “sleight of hand” after allegedly accepting it when first displayed. Seems the script was altered, or as some might say, tampered with! It might also explain why there were two Lirey badges, not just one. Entire books could be written on which of the two came first… I think I know which, with its allusion (?) to the Veil of Veronica… yes, there are alternative views (the face above “SUAIRE” a visual link to the face-only display of the Linen as the “Image of Edessa” or as that on the then current “Shroud” per se.
Face shown (left) on mid- 14th century Machy Mould (recently discovered variant of the Lirey Pilgrim Badge) above the word “SUAIRE” (allegedly meaning “shroud”). Inset image on the right: one version among many of the fabled “Veil of Veronica” image. I say the two are related, and deliberately so, but this is not the time or place to go into detail.
No, NOT a resurrectional selfie, but instead a full size version of, wait for it, the legendary VEIL OF VERONICA , product of inital body contact – no air gaps- between body and fabric, but with one important difference. The Turin image was intended to look more realistic, less artistic.
How? By displaying a negative tone-reversed image implying IMPRINT (unless, that is, you’re a modern day sindonologist, in which case ‘resurrectional proto-photographic selfie” becomes the preferred, nay, vigorously proferred explanation assisted by unrestrained imagination, creation of endless pseudoscience etc etc, with resort to laser beams, corona discharges, nuclear physics, elementary particles, earthquakes etc etc – the list is seemingly endless!
Welcome to modern day sindonology.
Personally, I prefer no-nonsense feet-on-the-ground hypothesis-testing science, aided by lashings of, wait for it, plain down-to-earth common sense.
Start of original posting:
Thibault’s Principle: “No scorch produced by pressing a heated template onto linen can hope to match the subtlety of the Shroud image, either at the macroscopic or microscopic level.”
I suppose it should be called Heimburger’s Principle. It’s Thibault Heimburger MD. But let’s keep this informal if we can.
In fact, he didn’t state it in those precise words, but it is implicit in everything he said, and probably what John Jackson said, whom he quotes. Here’s a flavour:
“In other words, even with a less than 1 millimeter high relief, either the relief has the right color and the neighboring areas have no color either the neighboring areas have the right color and the relief is much too colored.”
And as I say: Thibault then looks to John Jackson for support with this:
“This problem of contrast has already been discovered by Jackson.”
I have briefly discussed Jackson’s work on a previous occasion, and declared my admiration for what he achieved, whilst having reservations on a number of grounds. But it is not his work that is in the frame today, but Thibault’s. Today I concentrate on the macroscopic aspects of the Thibault Principle (the microscopic ones will follow later),
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, here’s a few pictures that convey why I think the Thibault Principle as enunciated above is irrelevant to the Shroud image, due to use of an inappropriate template that by no stretch of the imagination could be described as ‘bas-relief’ relevant to the human form. Yes, I’m all in favour of simplified models that hone down to essentials, eliminating as much superfluous detail as possible, but a flat chunk of metal that is virtually right angles and slots is simply not ‘fit-for-purpose’. Sorry to have to be so frank, Thibault, but “nul points” re your choice of template, and nul points to any and all conclusions based on that choice,
Now this is what I call a proper template – a BAS-RELIEF – with a complex mix of vertical and horizontal planes, many of them neither completely one or the other, ie. the metal makes contact with linen at a whole range of angles between 0 and 90 degrees to the normal.
More to come, but I hope folk will see that as far as the macroscopic level is concerned , Thibault’s Principle has failed to put in an appearance in my experiments, and would not have in his either if he had made a sensible and appropriate choice of template. Given that he cites Jackson’s work, and looks to him for support, then why did he not take a leaf from Jackson’s book and choose a proper BAS-RELIEF template?
The trickier party of responding to Thibault is yet to come, i.e. in addressing the comparison between the Shroud image and model scorches at the microscopic level. All I would say for the moment is that one is not comparing like with like, age-wise, and allowance must be made in one case for wear and tear. The Shroud image probably looked very different centuries ago – both to the unaided eye and under the microscope.
I shall now take a break for a day or two, while, as I say, reserving the right to edit this somewhat hastily-assembled post…
Postscript: the crucial aspect re templates and imprinting is that subtle factor of frontal v. vertical plane of presentation. Imagine for a moment you had some linen spread over a sand bed, or some other underlay designed to get best contact between heated template and linen. (I’ve switched from using sand to a few layers of thick fabric). Imagine one had a small cube or sphere of soft metal that could be hammered into any shape one desired.
One could either have maximum area of initial contact, or minimum area of initial contact. If it were the first of those one would hammer out the metal to get a thin but rigid sheet, and then press it into the linen. But there would be a lot of resistance, and rather good imprinting (scorching) all over if the metal were hot. Suppose one presented it edge on – in other words the thin edge of the metal plate. Then there is now something like a blade that allows one to get a lot of contact laterally in terms of area (not on the leading edge, with its small area) but at a tangential angle, close to the parallel, that will not be conducive to scorching EXCEPT for the tiny area of the leading edge. Same amount of metal, but high contact pressure and all-over scorching in one instance, and low contact pressure (per unit area) and little scorching in the other (except for that intensely scorched leading edge).
In practice, any given object is somewhere intermediate between those two extremes. Thibault’s template is at one extreme, with a lot of contact pressure, whereas a bas relief is intermediate. There is the added subtlety that Thibault’s template is a pair of planes, separated by a small shelf, and while the distance of vertical separation is small, a mere 1mm in his raised relief template, it is enough to give a large difference in contact pressure and scorching of the first plane making contact with the linen and the second. A bas relief on the other hand penetrates more deeply, with its greater proportion of vertical to frontal plane, and thus one sees less of that “contrast problem” on which he places so much emphasis (excessive emphasis in my view).
Afterthought: Wed 24 October Re UNDERLAY
Early in my own studies I reported the importance of underlay for good thermal imprinting, alluded to briefly above. The crucial factor was to imprint vertically into the linen, the latter being spread initially over dry or dampish sand. Later I found a folded-up pad of thick floor cloth to be effective in getting good detailed imprints. It’s not difficult to see why – there has to be a resistance to “push” the linen up into the holllows and recesses of the bas relief to get maximal metal-linen contact, capturing as much detail.
But when you look closely at Thibault’s reports of each experiment, one gets the impression that he was slow to appreciate the importance of underlay, at least initially. In his first experiment he seems to be pressing linen DOWN onto hot metal, presumably gripping it at the sides and ‘stretching it over’. That would explain why the sunk relief portion in the centre was so poorly imaged. Later he talks about using a “firm surface”, suggesting that he had by then adopted my vertical presentation, using the template as one would a date-stamp, and later still there is a reference to a “soft pillow”.
I cannot stress too strongly the importance of underlay. Some of the “excessive contrast” that Thibault’s paper claims makes scorching a non-starter where medieval forgery is concerned can be explained simply by his failure to provide an underlay with the right combination of “give” and resistance, ensuring maximum contact between template and linen.
Update: Quote of the day from “Andy Weiss” on The Other Site: