The picture on the left is a small brass crucifix, purchased off a stall at an Antibes Saturday market. Next to it on the right is a negative image obtained from it that has been 3D-enhanced in ImageJ.
There’s a reasonably close resemblance, yes? How was the image obtained? By primitive photography?
Nope, it was obtained by a simple technology developed by this Shroud investigator, one that he calls THERMOGRAPHY.
(Late edit: maybe that should be qualified to “FLOUR THERMOGRAPHY”, given that there’s already a printing technology that uses that name, i.e. “a printing technique in which a wet ink image is fused by heat or infrared radiation with a resinous powder to produce a raised impression.”).
Was the image obtained by heating the crucifix, and pressing onto linen to get a contact scorch? Nope. That was this investigator’s Mark 1 technology. The Mark 2 technology, the R&D for which has been developed over the last year or so, did NOT require heating the crucifix, and indeed can be used with templates that cannot be heated, like one’s own hand (see precious postings). Sure, it used heat – a hot oven – but that’s used to develop the primary image on the linen, the latter being heat-resistant.
So how was the negative image obtained? (Late edit: see below* what the negative imprint looks like when tone-reversed in ImageJ).
Answer – with simple materials, all available to an enterprising medieval entrepreneur, wishing to simulate the image that Jesus might have left on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen when his sweat/blood covered body was taken down from the cross.
Ingredients? Linen, obviously, olive oil, white flour, a hot oven, soap and water. Yes, that’s all that’s needed to imprint a negative ‘thermograph’ off a 3D template.
I’ll be back later with a series of photographs showing how the above image was obtained earlier today in a few simple steps that anyone can perform in their own home.
So how much longer before ‘sindonology’ sits up and takes notice? I’m not holding my breath.
Comments invited. Please keep them relevant to the posting. Thank you.
Here’s the nuts and bolts, arriving in easy instalments.
Finally, to achieve that authentic-looking Shroud of Turin look, soak the imprinted linen in warm water, coat liberally with soap on both sides. Fold or roll up, leave for an hour or so, then using both hands, flex the soaped linen back and forth to dislodge the surface encrustation, leaving just the resistant ‘ghost’ image. Hang out to dry, then iron to remove creases. Hey presto, you have your miniature ‘Shroud of Turin’ body image. We’ll worry about the blood another time.
Oh, and this is the result from the rest of today’s experiment, flagged up in the comment attached to yesterday’s posting. The aim was to ring changes on using two types of fabric (linen v cotton), each used either ‘as is’ or ‘pre-baked’ in the oven (described by Luigi Garlaschelli as pre-ageing).
The above results might suggest that it is the predominant component of the fabrics, namely the heat-resistant cellulose, that is the target for the imprinted chromophore, whatever that might be chemically, rather than the minor more chemically-reactive non-cellulosic polysaccharides, such as the hemicelluloses and pectins. Why? Because all 8 images have approximately the same intensity before washing, and all are reduced roughly the same by washing, leaving the fuzzier ‘ghost’ images that are largely indistinguishable. Yawn.
Latest stats for this site (from WordPress), showing a small but steady increase in visitors this last month which this small but persistent voice in the sindonological wilderness finds most heartening.
Addendum (in response to comment received yesterday from Thibault Heimburger – see below).
It concerns the “negative” characteristics of the Turin Shroud image, and whether my modelling thus far has used templates that are large enough to demonstrate those same (though ill-defined) negative characteristics.
What about the use of my own hand as template, for which I’ve published numerous flour imprints, both ‘as is’ and after image inversion/3D enhancement in ImageJ? This might be a good time to mention one particular result obtained back in August last year using thick cotton instead of thin linen.
Here’s the actual image in question:
Amazing don’t you think? I had made a flour imprint of my hand, using a wet flour paste onto dry cotton (old technology) that was flat when it went into the oven. As the temperature increased, the fabric began to heave and buckle, making a glove like 3D version (or at any rate bas relief) facsimile of my hand. It finally set stiff as if a plastic casting – a permanent 3D record! I must see if I can find it some 5 months post-manufacture – a truly remarkable artefact n’est-ce-pas? How’s that for Shroud-like negativity and ACTUAL 3D properties, requiring no modern day software?
Further update: Friday 8th Jan. Have just been rooting through drawers, looking for that “3D-ish” flour thermograph of my hand, captured last August and briefly reported. Nope, I had not thrown it away, and here it is again, photographed a few minutes ago, held up to the net curtains of home-sweet-home.
It’s still rigid, note, almost like a composite fibre-glass moulding. The natural world (with or without anthropogenic outcomes) never ceases to surprise.
Still raiding my old photo-archives, here’s a brass rubbing from the medieval era. The couple are of course instantly recognizable as people, even ones one could warm to, despite the image being non-photographic and what today we would call a “negative”(though I doubt that term or even concept existed at the time the image was made).
How old would you say the man was? Maybe 60s? 60s even? Both look arguable ‘beady-eyed’, some might say somewhat hostile and intimidating.
Now take that same image and do a tone-reversal (e.g. using Edit Invert in ImageJ as here):
The change is amazing is it not, the man especially looking so much younger and having that seemingly wider-eyed (?! same size) hypnotic gaze. Best methinks that we keep negative/positive image transformations in two completely separate mental compartments – one that is strictly definable, measurable and scientific (the one that concerns me here on this blog, wearing my scientist’s hat) and the other which is aesthetic/psychological, enormously fascinating, but NOT the chosen province where this practical, down-to-earth, nuts-and-bolts blog is concerned.
While on the subject of that negative image, taken simply to mean a tone-reversed (highest relief dark, lowest relief light), how many positive sightings are there in the artistic or written historical record, prior to the mid-14th century Lirey display, accompanied by that pilgrim’s badge? The latter bore would seem the very first appearance of the iconic ‘two-fold’ image in art, in bas relief no less. Am I not right in thinking that there are also no unequivocal sightings of the negative image pre-Lirey? Admittedly less can be made of that as regards the authenticity debate than the absence of the iconic double image: artists may not have properly appreciated the concept of a negative image, or have considered it quirky and best ignored, or simply wished to make the face more human like – like giving it either fully open eyes, or definite closed eyelids. But it’s one more instance of the absence of positive affirmative evidence for the Shroud having a pre-14th century existence which, taken with the radiocarbon dating, will lead many to conclude that it was indeed a 14th century artefact, albeit an original and ingenious ‘one-off’.