Update (added April 5 ,2015) : my thinking re the medieval technology needed to produce the Turin Shroud is changing by the day, as new experimental data are collected. See my main site, sciencebuzz, for the latest up to date information, as well as this recent posting and comments on Dan Porter’s shroudstory.com.
Further update, April 15: Have today changed this blog’s banner to reflect my new thinking – namely that the superficial Shroud image may have been chemically rather than thermally-induced, though still using an imprinting technique to achieve the negative, 3D-enhancible image. The end-result of the two technologies might be virtually indistinguishable in chemical terms – namely caramelized linen carbohydrates in both cases arising from the dehydration/oxidation/formation of yellow or tan-coloured chromophores containing conjugated (-C=C-C=C- ) double bonds etc.
Intro deleted, October 2015
Start here (captions).
- Our story begins here, with Jesus on the road to the crucifixion site, carrying his own cross. According to legend, St.Veronica wipes the sweat and blood from his face with her veil. An image of Jesus appears on the cloth, now known as the Veil of Veronica, which Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum describes as the “central icon” of the 14th century Roman Church, attracting hordes of pilgrims.
Did a medieval entrepreneur spot an opportunity to create a rival artefact, also in “sweat and blood”, or seemingly so, that would have even greater pulling power if providing an image of the entire body – both sides, front and rear, POST-crucifixion, but not necessarily pre-interment?
- Fig.2: Here’ s another artistic rendering of the Veil of Veronica. I’ve chosen this one because it’s more imprint-like. Most others are shown as fully-fledged colour portraits with ‘helpful’ additions, like the crown of thorns, implying some, er, outside help in morphing a sweat imprint into a recognizable face. Never mind – it’s the principle that matters. In the medieval mind, when Jesus has his face wiped by a sympathetic bystander you get a image of near-photographic quality (right?).
- Fig.3: Here’s a famous Rubens picture showing the Descent (aka Deposition) from the cross. It was the subject of a posting on another site, claiming it to have no basis in scripture (wrong – it fits very well with the account of the crucifixion in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke). It took this blogger a little while to spot that Joseph of Arimathea’s linen is being used as a chute or slide to assist removal of the body from the cross, with Joseph (?) the gent with the long beard and red cap appearing to use the linen as a brake (see the way it’s coiled around Jesus’s leg) and others with outstretched hands helping ease the body down to the ground in a dignified manner.
- Fig.4: We’re now at ground level and the linen is being used as a makeshift stretcher. The gent in orange appears to be in the process of gathering the cloth around the body as if to protect from view.
- Fig. 5: Here we see the linen being used as a stretcher. The head is still exposed, no doubt as artistic licence, so you know it’s Jesus.
- Fig.6: We’ve now arrived at the tomb, the body now enveloped completely in linen except for the head, again for artistic reasons.
- Fig.7: The body is now being removed from Joseph’s linen, implying that the latter was intended to be used for transport only, not – as so many seem to imagine – as the final burial shroud. It would have been heavily soiled, needless to say, with blood etc, but medieval artists understandably omitted that detail. (The “etc” above is important, when recalling that the Veil of Veronica was considered to have started as an imprint of blood AND sweat).
- Fig.8: We’re now in the tomb, and Joseph’s linen is being removed in order to prepare the body for final burial. Note: linen is being removed – not added. This picture gives no clue as to what will replace Joseph’s ‘transport’ linen. Time is running out, according to the Bible, due to the start of the sabbath (that same evening at dusk).
- Fig.9: Here’s a detail from the late 13th century Hungarian Pray manuscript. It’s been chosen since it appears to show Joseph’s linen under the body, now opened out, possibly with securing ties now untied, while linen winding strips are in readiness, as per the account of St. John’s gospel, once the anointing with oil has been completed. .
- Fig.10: Can you guess at what stage this image was fabricated as a rival to the Veil of Veronica? It’s the (Belgian) Lier copy (1516) of the present Shroud of Turin, before it acquired the disfiguring burn holes from the 1532 fire (and relatively free of blood as well). I say the TS image was a medieval representation of the imprint that Jesus might have left in SWEAT and BLOOD between cross and tomb when Joseph’s linen was being used as a stretcher or, more likely, a completely enveloping BODY BAG (see previous posting). So the “Shroud” of Turin may not be a burial shroud at all – whether real 1st century, improbable, in view of the radiocarbon dating, or more probably imagined/reconstructed 14th century – merely the cloth with which Jesus was enveloped for transport purposes. If I’m right, the Vatican should cease calling it the Shroud of Turin. The Enigmatic Imprint of Turin?
- Fig.11: Shroud of Turin (Durante 2002 image from Shroud Scope with adjustment to contrast and brightness).
Note the blood flow ONTO the linen from a foot (circled) suggestive of imaging (real or simulated) having occurred soon after removal from the cross, i.e. more likely en route to tomb.
- Fig. 12: Close-up of that copious flow of blood from the foot.
Update, Sunday 1st March: See shroudstory.com’s latest posting: Picture for Today: Fresco in Pinerolo
Not only do we see the Veronica (ed. or rather Veronica herself, not an image of Jesus en route to Calvary!) and the Shroud shown together in the same picture, but both have been given approximately the same monochrome quality (yellowish brown) as if to suggest they share much the same mechanism of origin (sweat imprint maybe, at least between the Shroud and the reputed Veronica image of JESUS?).
Is that a shawl we see around the neck and shoulders (the red hair suggests that the coloration around the jawline and chin should not be interpreted as a beard, i.e. the image is that of a serene Veronica, with doe-like eyes, not a tortured Jesus).
Ring any bells? It should do. The very first known representation in history of the ‘double-image’ Shroud was on the Mark 1 Lirey Pilgrim’s badge. Let’s acknowledge immediately that there was no representation of the Veronica (with JESUS) on that lead/tin casting dredged up from the Seine in 19th century Paris. But a motif of the Veronica labelled SUAIRE (most convenient) WAS added to the Machy mould, which was clearly intended for a Mark2 Lirey badge (or maybe Mark Zero ). See my previous posting.
Speaking of which, who can spot the connection between these images and what happens daily on shroudstory.com?
“Your steed awaits you sir. Enjoy going round and round, bobbing up and down, up and down, round and round …”
“On A Carousel”
Riding along on a carousel
Trying to catch up to you
Riding along on a carousel
Will I catch up to youHorses chasing ’cause they’re racing
So near yet so far
On a carousel, on a carouselNearer, nearer by changing horses
Still so far away
People fighting for their places
Just get in the waySoon you’ll leave and then I’ll lose you
Still we’re going round
On a carousel, on a carouselRound and round and round and round and round
And round and round and round with you
Up, down, up, down, up, down too
Update 10:00 (still Sunday March 1)
So why the pseudo-Veronica on that fresco, one showing the lady imprinter, not the imprinted? I think it’s the artist inviting the viewer to regard the Shroud as a Veronica Mark 2 – albeit a whole body imprint – not just the face. The essentially monochrome nature of both Veronica and the Shroud is a message – to see the image as that of an CONTACT IMPRINT – not a painting. Charles Freeman please note.
I was wondering why this old posting is suddenly getting new hits on my sitemeter. Explanation: it’s just been flagged up on shroudstory.com under “Comments”, thanks to WordPress’s ‘pingback’ alert, which we’re assured we need for improved connectivity, with no facility that I’m aware of for de-activating. Improved connectivity? Yeah, right.
On my sciencebuzz site right now (21st Feb 2015):