2015 preamble: Hello dear site visitor. Welcome to the site.
You have chosen to check out a 2015 posting. 2015 was my breakthrough year. Up till then I’d been wedded to direct scorching of hot metal template (whether fully 3D or bas relief). Why? The resulting imprints were not unlike TS body image, albeit sharper, but were, nevertheless, negative tone-reversed, responsive to 3D-rendering software (ImageJ) , bleachable etc etc. (All very encouraging).
But there was a fly-in-the-ointment: one cannot monitor degree of coloration when metal is pressed into linen – the action/contact zone being shielded from sight.
The solution took shape in late 2014: instead of heating the template, I coated it with a thin smear of oil, then lightly dusted with white flour ,then imprinted the flour-image onto linen. I then heated the linen over a ceramic hot plate (later with a modern electric iron or fan oven). Result: an arguably better model of the TS body image (fuzzier etc)
But the full potential of the was new procedure not realized. Why? Because I imprinted onto dry linen.
Similar two-step technology was developed in 2015 via an entirely different route.
I had been looking at acids as possible colorants for creating a look-alike “Shroud” image (with most or all its distinctive and unusual features) . Weak organic acids and even strong mineral acids (sulphuric etc) were quickly rejected for one reason or another. They either failed to produce colour, or, if they did (sulphuric) it was not only scarcely visible, but the cloth was dramatically weakened.
It was nitric acid (HNO3) that proved interesting. It produced a faint yellow coloration of untreated linen, probably on account of protein traces.. Could that be made more pronounced? Answer: YES, first by coating the linen with a high concentration of protein (gelatin or egg white), then realizing that a more common medieval commodity, i.e. plain white flour with its 10% or thereabouts of protein would serve.
Image formation? Initially I created imprints of metal and other templates (ceramic etc) using a slurry of wheat flour in water, with or without heat treatment to gelatinize the starch. I found to my delight that I could produce a negative image of my face, 3D enhancible, simply by taking the flour imprint and bolding up the intrinsic faint yellow colour of wheat flour using simple commercial photoediting software (Windows Office).
Insert image of my face, from May 2015: get it from this link.
Images of hands etc, brass crucifixes, plastic figurines quickly followed, still using liquid flour slurry as imprinting medium.
But they were criticized by a particular high-profile individual: I was told the edges were too sharp, too well defined to be considered a valid model.
There was a simple solution that largely silenced the critic.
I returned to the Oct 14 technique that had been shelved, with a small modification: smear the hand, (or metal or plastic template) with veg oil, sprinkle with white flour, shake off excess flour, imprint onto WET linen, then heat the linen until the desired degree of yellow coloration had been obtained (via the kind of Maillard browning or caramelization reactions that occur rotinely when baking flour-based goods).
Yes, nitric acid was dispensed with as the means of coloration. In its place was thermal colour development. Expressed more simply: HEAT the imprinted linen!
No, not a scorch, in the sense that the linen constituents per se (cellulose etc) were being coloured via complex thermal reactions, but, totally separate, at least chemically the acquired flour imprint. (How that imprint interacts physically with linen fibres provides a whole new dimension for speculation and detailed research – with microscopy leading the way.
One final step: a vigorous rub with soap and water to dislodge loose encrustations. What stubbornly remains behind is a somewhat diffuse fuzzy-edged yellow to brown discoloration of the cloth. If imprinted as an image, one sees with time and further reseacrh (2015 and beyond) a growing list of resemblances to (guess what?) the reported properties of the TS body image, including those bizarre features revealed by microscopy (“half tone effect”, “image discontinuities” etc). Yup, I say we’re home and dry with “Model 10”. Correction – home and wet (after the final washing step). Just add 30 mins for drying and we’re home and dry!
It did not take long for the rest of the faux-biblical ‘narrative’ pieces to fall into place. A fuzzy whole body imprint obtained with white flour and heating, with blood in all the right places, is likely to have been a 14th century Veil of Veronica -obsesssed attempt to simulate (“fake”) the imprint that might have been left on Joseph of Arimathea’s fine linen, used to retrieve a recently crucified body from a cross, for transport to a nearby rock tomb. (NO, neither intended nor used as the final burial shroud in 33AD, taking the biblical account as, er, 100% Gospel truth, thereby making the term “Turin Shroud” highly misleading, especially as it’s routinely expanded to “burial shroud”). See margin comments on this site for more details.
Here are the two key links: the first to the floured-up horsebrass from 2014:
The second is the link to imprinting of my face with plain white flour (amazingly) WITHOUT use of physical developing agent (mere recourse to photoediting software):
Maybe three more links from red-letter year, 2015, like Dan Porter’s reports on my Model 10 thinking, proposed mechanism for “half tone effect etc etc.
So much for the background to 2015. (Thanking you dear reader in advance for your patience and forebearance. (Hopefully you’ll appreciate that when one has posted a reported-in-real time online learning curve via 350+ postings, here and elsewhere, some kind of packaging then makes sense).
Here’s the start of the original posting.
An interesting idea appeared this morning among the last tranche of comments to Dan Porter’s shroudstory site (see previous posting re Dan’s bowing out). It was from Hugh Farey, Editor of the BSTS newsletter:
Here is the comment in full. I’ve bolded the portion that sees the mid-14th century Lirey-housed Shroud as a a “liturgical illustration” , or as I would say, devotional “ornament”:
- December 21, 2015 at 5:57 am
Thanks Hugh. A wooden statue as a visual aid, making the double imprint a ‘thought experiment’? NOT a forgery, not intended to deceive, at least while the statue is in situ, or even temporarily removed on key calendar dates, then promptly replaced. By Jove, I do believe you’ve got it! It’s certainly a highly credible scenario…
But might there have been an auxiliary reason for that image to have been created, one that is the “protection”, also translated from the Latin as “safeguard, as in the graphic above”?
Yes, I strongly suspect there is, though I don’t undersestimate the difficulty of defending it. It’s the idea of the Shroud having been produced not just as a “ornament” but a “safeguard” too. This blogger also used Dan Porter’s site to flag up that dimension a few days ago in the following comment. Unfortunately the key passage (again highlighted) comes near the end but in the interests of preserving context I’ve cut-and-pasted the entire comment.
December 18, 2015 at 1:12 am
Yes, the Shroud of Turin, correction, the neophyte Shroud of Lirey as an “ornament and a protection” – that will be the thesis on this site for some time to come.
The problem is how best to present it, bearing in mind that this is a blogsite, not a scholarly “dot-the-i’s and cross the t’s” pdf or peer-reviewed paper, this investigator now seeing himself more as don’t-let-the-grass-grow-under-your-feet detective than plodding academic.
I’ve decided on a change in tack. I shall be using my own Comments section to develop the thesis in small bite-size instalments. It helps to prevent the site becoming unsightly and/or unwieldy, as happens if constantly adding postscripts, and who knows, may even improve its present pitiful search engine ranking (it’s rumoured that Google does not like what it sees as constant editing of content, which may or may not be true).
Feel free to comment folks (first timers may have their maiden comment to this site held up briefly for my approval). Be quick if you want to appear as first comment – I’ll be adding my own, once I’ve got my head round some of the disjointed fragments of recorded history immediately preceding the first display of the Lirey Shroud in the mid 1350s (approx).
Next posting in this “Decus et Tutamen” series? Barring misfortune it will be this side of Christmas, taking a close look at an article which the formidable lately-deceased Dorothy Crispino penned in the very first issue (1981) of her Shroud Spectrum International.
It’s in pdf format, the link to which can be found in the SSI Index on the shroud.com site.