Shroudie-Alert: Day 7 Shroud Mk 1 – somebody’s private joke (in appallingly bad taste)?


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:




19:00 : Here we go  then (final instalment for today), proposing how the Mark 1 Shroud came into being:

This is a first  draft, hastily written.  I reserve the right to edit later, but will use the strike-out facility to preserve the initial draft).

Mark 1 Shroud would have been made between 1314 (execution of de Molay and other Templar notables) and 1357 (display at Lirey). That’s a 43 year time span in which there was ample time to consider one of the most traumatic events in medieval French history, and a way of marking the end of the Crusader/Templar era in the form of a grim theatrical reminder, if only for display to the aristocracy at private parties.

The result was Shroud Mark 1, an attempt at black humour, custom-made for a wealthy client (herring bone weave).  He was perhaps a  beneficiary of appropriated Templar assets, a confidante of the King himself,  who being both triumphalist and gloating was looking for a way of creating a visual ‘in-joke’. The way he did that was to picture a still-intact victim of slow-roasting (as per 1314) , and then to re-enact the Biblical account of the  events before and after Crucifixion. In other words, create an image that was intended to look as though a hot victim, straight from the stake, still intact, had been laid out on a sheet of linen, the sheet then doubled over, and the heat in that body then producing  a scorch on top and bottom layers.

But the designers created a problem for the  makers of Shroud Mk2 (see below). They added a chain, as needed to secure the victim to the stake. That chain was imprinted not only across the back, but maybe extending on one or both sides, as if to represent a chain that had been broken with the broken ends free and visible, mainly on the dorsal  side, but with a  suggestion on the frontal side too.  The site of the present “spear wound” may well have been a representation of the latter as a short heaped-up length of chain on the frontal side (see a previous posting).

To achieve that image, all that was needed was a hot template, or series of templates. The artisans used whatever was to hand – portions of recycled bronzes, possibly armour plate, say for shoulders, and maybe a customised template for the head, which could have been metal, or maybe fired clay (the latter easy to mould with wet clay). The fingers were too long, but never mind, provided they looked bony as well, they might help to give an impression of someone whose extremities had been “burned to the bone”, maybe in attempting to protect a sensitive region of the male anatomy (again, part of the gloating black humour).

Initially, that was all that was needed for producing an instant belly-laugh in private parties at the expense of the liquidated Templars.

At some stage, someone looked at that double-image, with its Crucifixion metaphor, and thought, why not make some additions, and peddle it as a holy relic – Shroud Mk2 – claiming it to be the actual burial shroud of Christ?   They would first apply blood to a wrist, then the feet, and then forehead and hair to simulate the blood from a crown of thorns, and then the scourge marks (overkill with 372!) and then the wound in the side  and across the back, (disguising that chain motif). More to come.

PS  Tomorrow I shall give yet another tweak to the proposed scorch technology for imprinting an image on linen,  one that uses conducted heat (mainly). But the shallow overlay, acting partly as a thermal buffer,  will not be sand or powdered clay, as recently proposed,  but one that acts as a thermosensitizer too. What’s more, it would provide extra ‘guffaw power’ at 14th century parties. Can you guess what I have in mind? Clue: it was an essential ingredient in my very first posting on the Shroud as sciencebod, acting as a thermosensitizer in a (quickly abandoned)  radiation model. Be prepared for some more, er, black humour…

16:30:  Yup, if you ask me (OK, so you didn’t, which I consider somewhat remiss of you) the Lirey badge was black humour. What’s more – the designer knew it was a barbecued Templar in crucifixion pose, and added the little clues to BOTH sides of the badge. Yes, both sides show evidence of a barbecue, if you know where to look, and how to interpret.

So if you were wondering why the badge designer went to the trouble of putting a design on the back, where one would probably not expect one,  now you know dear reader (hello mum).  Berry the Bumbling Blogger, who doesn’t know his arse from his elbow,  who has no real knowledge of the Shroudie literature, who needs to learn his place in the pecking order, has now decreed so… Bring on the brickbats, or (spell-check unfriendly) schoolmarmerly hat pins….

So where you may reasonably ask, newcomers to this site that is,  might there be  a barbecue on the front side? It’s what in received wisdom (Ian Wilson’s) is the “empty tomb”, portrayed as a probably non-Biblical sarcophagus (in a cave tomb?). Look closely at Mario’s close-up of the “empty tomb” and you may see what looks suspiciously like kindling, in the form of a set of horizontal gouge marks (see arrow). Might that not be a grill over the top? Is the broken side post-production damage, or  to signal it’s not really a damaged sarcophagus but an improvised entry point for air, as needed to keep charcoal glowing?  OK,  so it’s impressionist,  speculative even, but it’s not obvious why several gouge marks should be there, assuming they are not of modern origin. It’s arguably better to have one interpretation, rather than none whatsoever.

empty tomb or templar barbecue query

But what of the Shroud itself, on which it was modelled. Was that also commissioned  – before the Lirey badge obviously – as black humour?

15:45:  What follows is an alternative narrative, one that develops some ideas I quietly insinuated into the blogosphere in April last year, which in passing earned an instant 3 raspberries in quick succession from you-know-where (the subject of yesterday’s posting). One knows one is doing something right to earn such immediate attention from that quarter.

Late edit: for the benefit of those who have not seen earlier content. I am now discussing the reverse side of the Lirey badge: here it is, from Mario Latendresse’s site, the one that gave us Shroud Scope.

reverse side of lirey badge cropped

Sorry to differ, Mario, but that  trellis is almost certainly not a representation of fabric. It is in fact a metal grid, one that is resting horizontally on those poles, the latter laid on the ground or a raised plinth.  It is the medieval equivalent of our modern barbecue, except this one was designed for the mass roasting of Templars. That’s why there are gaps between the trellis grids. They allowed the stokers  with their little rakes to access to each roasting site independently,  ensuring it was always at  the correct Goldilocks temperature, neither too hot nor too cold, thus  prolonging the torture for as long as possible.

For this to be the correct explanation, the 3 poles must be underneath the grid, to provide support obviously, and providing the necessary air gap, one that kept the victim’s  feet separate from charcoal (the charcoal would be snuffed out otherwise).  As far as one can tell, the poles are indeed underneath the lattice, i.e. the lattice is continuous over the top. That in itself proves nothing – but the configuration does at least meet the essential criterion (there was a 50% chance of being right – or wrong- on that one).

Reminder: here’s an artist’s impression of what happened in Paris on that infamous day in 1314.  Shame he could not have obliged me with a plan view as well.

Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master, Knights Templar,1309.

Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master, Knights Templar,1314. The raised plinth would have needed a metal grid of some sort  when used to barbecue the victim, as distinct from the quicker “burning at the stake” with a conical stack of timber.

13:50:  OK, so  it’s a trellis, i.e. a criss-cross pattern.  But a representation of the weave in the Shroud? How come? Threads meet at right angles on a loom to create a square lattice, not a diamond one. An attempt to represent a herring- bone weave, the result of a 3 over 1 ratio between warp and weft?  (Or is it weft and warp, not that it matters in the present context?).  Why, when a herring-bone weave is shown clearly on the front of the badge?

Hold on a jiffy. I spy another couple of features that suggest it may be something other than a weave. Firstly the trellis alternates with pattern-free dividers as one follows the horizontals from top to bottom.  Why, if it’s to represent fabric?  Secondly, there are those 3 stout ‘uprights’ but with no intertwining roses or honeysuckle. What are they supposed to represent? Is there an alternative interpretation, and if so, does it reinforce any impressions (like this blogger’s!) regarding what that image on the front of the badge was really intended to portray?

reverse side of lirey badge croppedClick to ENLARGE

13:00 Preamble complete, wake up you at the back, here’s a photograph that I bet few of you reading this have previously laid eyes upon.  (The Other Site posted something like 2000 times I reckon before the Lirey badge got a look in – April 2012- and that was only in response to my reporting on it).  It’s the reverse side of the Lirey badge, aka Cluny medal, aka Cluny medallion. It’s a screen grab from Mario Latendresse’s site. I hope he does not object to my doing that (research purposes, fair use  etc). Look at the picture, look at Mario’s brief description. Do you think the picture shows a “trellis”and was it merely a way of representing the Shroud’s woven linen?

12:00 I am still on that Lirey badge today, a priceless artefact, given it was struck to coincide with the first public display of the Shroud, probably  (just) post 1356, shortly after the death of its knightly owner, Geoffroi de Charny, at the Battle of Poitiers (19 September 1356). Actually, some say it was his wife, Jeanne de Vergy who was the real owner, accounting for the appearance of her family coat-of-arms on the badge, given equal prominence with her husband’s – but let’s not get into that right now, for reasons/uncertainties that may be apparent below

Why “post” 1356. All I have to go to substantiate that time-fix is a small entry in wiki: I shall now try and retrieve it from my overloaded bookmarks.

Yup, here it is, and it gives 1357 as the date of the first display. (Why Geoffroi should have wanted the display to take place after his death, i.e. not while still alive, is something else to speculate on).

cropped Vergy, wiki yellow underlining

Click on graphic to enlarge

(Apologies in advance if I get some of the details wrong in this preamble for what is to follow, namely the simple but intriguing reverse side of the Lirey badge. As I said yesterday, I am a retired science bod who might be described as an accidental historian, though I have to confess, by no means a reluctant one (history being an essential and rewarding part of the Shroud jigsaw puzzle). But as always, I prefer to plough my own lonely furrow, scrutinizing all received wisdom with an open mind,  and occasionally jaundiced eye, and do not worry unduly over  how many backs I may be getting up by doing so. Can any of the owners of those backs explain why the Lirey badge does NOT depict an obviously iconic Christ-like figure, or  classical crucifixion ‘pose’, one that bears a reasonable resemblance to that on the Shroud?  Where’s the shoulder-length long hair, the finally post-Resurrection ‘at peace’  look? That is yet another enigma, albeit second-division enigma,  that needs to be addressed, even if not the stuff of Rolfe challenges and future documentaries.


About Colin Berry

Retired science bod, previous research interests: phototherapy of neonatal jaundice, membrane influences on microsomal UDP-glucuronyltransferase, defective bilirubin and xenobiotic conjugation and hepatic excretion, dietary fibre and resistant starch.
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9 Responses to Shroudie-Alert: Day 7 Shroud Mk 1 – somebody’s private joke (in appallingly bad taste)?

  1. Max Patrick Hamon says:

    If you do love historical/legendary enigmas here is one for you: In old French “un grail” means “a square/diamond metallic lattice”. Now just guess what is featured on the OBverse side of the Lirey Medaillon?

    CB, want to see for yourself the archaeo(crypto)perceptive image of the Blood Chalice of Christ? What can you “THINK YOU SEE” right in the Shroud face vertical axis once the image is shown upside down? REMINDER: the Shroud image does “behave” like an oversized Rorschach (this is an archaeoperceptive/optical fact! The Shroud image is of the stuff that the medieval “grail” scenes are made of.

  2. Max Patrick Hamon says:

    It was WELL BEFORE Jacques de Molay and Geoffrey de Charny met their fate on a small islet a little off the Paris Cardio…

  3. Max Patrick Hamon says:

    Le terme de graal est traduit en anglais par « grail » – le saint graal : the holy grail. Or graal se rapproche du terme de vieux français « grail » qui signifie gril et grille – car les deux mots ne sont différenciés qu’au XVIIème siècle – du latin cratis (grille, claie). Le verbe « griller » était orthographié « graailler », remarquez les deux « a ». On retrouve le gril dans un récit irlandais racontant l’évolution de Tuân mac Cairill réalisant l’Homme primordial en lui.

    If you still don’t know the optical reason why YOU THINK YOU SEE “un homme grillé à petit feu” just pray Saint Lawrence for it…

  4. Max Patrick Hamon says:

    What is really your Knights Templar’s “SAIT VOIR ET SAIT OÏR”, “DOUBLE AND TRIPLE ENTENDRE AND SEE”? Zilch, nada, nothing, wallou.

  5. Max Patrick Hamon says:

    Yeshua said: “Whoever is near me is near the fire” (Is it scorching hot enough, I mean Truth?)

  6. colinsberry says:

    Kindly be advised that I do not permit individuals to clog my comments in this manner, no matter how important they think their contribution. This is pure selfishness on your part. Please desist.
    PS I see you have added two more. You know what happens if you trash my blog in this fashion…

  7. Max Patrick Hamon says:

    If you insist… Adieu t bon voyage Mr Scorching

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