Am I the only one to have spotted that the Lirey Shroud was piggybacked on the Veil of Veronica – which may explain why the French still call it the Suaire (“sweat-impregnated facecloth”) de Turin”?

The larger scale 'selfie' came a little later

The veil (proto-Polaroid print) of Veronica: the larger scale front and rear view ‘selfie’ came a little later

The face above "SUAIRE" (reversed) on the Machy Mould for an assumed Lirey badge (Mark 2, or possibly pre-Mark1).

The face above “SUAIRE” (lettering engraved in reverse) on the Machy Mould intended for  a Mark 2 (?)Lirey badge.

See previous posting, and the ongoing discussion it has generated with two French-speaking visitors to the site:

1.  The newcomer Robert ( un Belge de Geneve), who contributes to  the wiki (Fr) page on the Suaire d’Oviedo, alleged crucifixion-phase  face cloth/napkin, the latter  highly bloodied, no facial imprint as such, distinguishing it from the contemporaneous Veil of Veronica, if the given narrative in these matters is to be  believed.

2. Well-known Shroud authority, Dr.Thibault Heimburger (while noting that he has published views attacking my interpretation of the Shroud as a thermal imprint from a heated template – see links to my counter-critique). Incidentally, while surfing French-language sites yesterday I discovered that TH produced his own very polished, professional-looking  website on the TS back in 2005 (link later). I don’t ever recall him mentioning that in past discussions. (PS: Were you aware TB that your name came up in a recent discussion thread on that enigma-solving  ‘neutron-emitting AD 33 earthquake’ in the Washington Post?)

Piggybacking (in title) The closest definition of several on offer in wikipedia reads:

“Piggybacking, a practice in which a person with bad credit uses  the seasoned trade line of credit of someone else.”

While pushing what they probably knew to be a fake, if the Mark 1 shroud (arguably prior to touching up with strategically-located bloodstains)  was meant to be taken as the real imprint of the crucified Christ, i.e. a larger version of the Veil of Veronica, then the Lord of Lirey and his wife/widow were not so much attempting to circumvent bad credit, as trying to establish it with the first documented appearance of the Shroud.

That was in the mid-1350s, accompanied by at least two promotional pilgrims’ badges’  The first and better known lead/tin one in the Cluny museum, dredged up from the Seine in 1855,  without any obvious Christ-like figure, and the (later?) revisionist version (see Ian Wilson’s pdf  in the BSTS Newsletter on the Machy mould) that has the added Veronica- style in vivo motif of Christ’s face as an additional inset image above the word SUAIRE ( signalling a “sweat-imprinted face cloth” and no doubt attempting to suggest, even subliminally, that the entire Shroud image was likewise a sweat imprint, albeit post-mortem).

The surplus-to-requirements and source or confusion face and label on the Machy mould above "SUAIRE" (left) and one contender (right) for title of surviving Veil of Veronica (from wiki entry for latter), i.e. the Holy Face of Jaen.

The surplus-to-requirements and source or confusion face and label on the Machy mould above “SUAIRE” (left) and  just one several similar images that could have chosen  to represent the Veil of Veronica, the one shown here described as a 14th century “copy” ,  entitled the ‘Holy Face of Jaen’.


What better way than piggybacking, seen with the addition of a motif of the famed pilgrim-attracting Veil of Veronica  (Fr. Le voile de Véronique)  with its alleged imprint of the face of Jesus en route to Calvary, imprinted we are told in sweat.  Contrary view (or a priori assumption): Mario Latendresse describes it as “the face of the man on the Shroud”.

Possibly more to come.

PS: Am suffering a degree of writer’s block at present.  😦

Postscript: have just re-read the first of Ian Wilson’s  two monographs in the BSTS newsletters on the Machy mould to see that he too had spotted the link between the  added “face” and earlier representations of Jesus, real or reputed.

The difference is that he linked with the “Image of Edessa”, which according to his celebrated if controversial theory is the Shroud folded so that only the face was visible, in contrast to my suggestion that the Shroud represents an entirely independent image, namely the Veil.

Here’s a cut-and-paste from the monograph:

” Now such a depiction of the Shroud in ‘face only on a landscape background ’ form and with eyes apparently open and staring (a common interpretation of the Shroud ’eyes’) is of  course  of  very considerable interest in the light of the theory that the Shroud may have had its  origins as the Byzantine world’s Image of Edessa. Amongst those  most sceptical towards the Shroud’s authenticity one of the most common objections raised against the Edessa theory of the Shroud’s earlier history is the seeming incompatibility of connecting a cloth spoken of in Byzantine sources mostly  as bearing just a facial imprint of the living Jesus, with the cloth  bearing the extraordinary full body ‘dead Jesus’ imprint that we see on the Shroud. Yet on the Machy pilgrim mould the connection  is there, absolutely manifest for all to see.”

Why do I say Veil  image, and not TS Man? It has to be impressionstic, obviously, given the paucity of detail in the first, and given that medieval man would have only seen the second as a non-photogenic negative.

However, the TS man looks to be the victim of PTDS  (post- traumatic death syndrome).  Even without bloodstains, which may not have  been on the Mk1 Shroud, or omitted from the badge out of concern for finer feelings (despite Ian Wilson’s “blood belt” on the completed badge, that I, in common with the Cluny custodians see as rope-like binding ) there is the gaunt look. Contrast that with the Veil image, where the cheeks are plumped out, where the eyes might well be open and alert, not dead staring eyes as per Shroud. In short, the line drawing on the Mould is simply not what one would expect an artist, or even artisan, to have engraved if wishing to represent the man on the TS in close-up, and certainly not the post mortem victim of crucifixion. OK, so the “Veil” man had been scourged ,  given a crown of thorns (or later?) , forced to carry a cross, but he was still living and on his feet, after a fashion, and most medieval pictures of that face-wiping scene show Jesus still very much in the land of the living, albeit much abused.

Sorry Mr. Wilson. I think you got it wrong. It’s a depiction of the Veil of Veronica, not your imaginative Shroud peekaboo Edessa Image. What’s more it was there serving an important purpose – to instil in viewers’ minds that the Shroud was a larger version of the sweat imprint acquired a day or two earlier. That’s why the Shroud was named  “suaire”, to convey the idea that it was a larger version of a sweat-imprinted face wipe in a biblically-correct  time-sequence.


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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