Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pope Clement VII Called It in 1389 

Via Zemblan patriot J.D.: It all began to come apart when a pesky French blogger noticed that the kerning was off, and the face resembled a clip-art image that comes standard with Microsoft Shroud:
A French magazine said on Tuesday it had carried out experiments that proved the Shroud of Turin, believed by some Christians to be their religion's holiest relic, was a fake.

"A mediaeval technique helped us to make a Shroud," Science & Vie (Science and Life) said in its July issue . . . .

Drawing on a method previously used by skeptics to attack authenticity claims about the Shroud, Science & Vie got an artist to do a bas-relief - a sculpture that stands out from the surrounding background - of a Christ-like face.

A scientist then laid out a damp linen sheet over the bas-relief and let it dry, so that the thin cloth was moulded onto the face.

Using cotton wool, he then carefully dabbed ferric oxide, mixed with gelatine, onto the cloth to make blood-like marks. When the cloth was turned inside-out, the reversed marks resulted in the famous image of the crucified Christ.

Gelatine, an animal by-product rich in collagen, was frequently used by Middle Age painters as a fixative to bind pigments to canvas or wood.

The imprinted image turned out to be wash-resistant, impervious to temperatures of 250°C and was undamaged by exposure to a range of harsh chemicals, including bisulphite which, without the help of the gelatine, would normally have degraded ferric oxide to the compound ferrous oxide . . . .

The faker used a cloth rather than a brush to make the marks, and used gelatine to keep the rusty blood-like images permanently fixed and bright for selling in the booming market for religious relics.

To test his hypothesis, di Costanzo used ferric oxide, but no gelatine, to make other imprints, but the marks all disappeared when the cloth was washed or exposed to the test chemicals.

He also daubed the bas-relief with an ammoniac compound designed to represent human sweat and also with cream of aloe, a plant that was used as an embalming aid by Jews at the time of Christ.

He then placed the cloth over it for 36 hours - the approximate time that Christ was buried before rising again - but this time, there was not a single mark on it.

"It's obviously easier to make a fake shroud than a real one," Science & Vie report drily.

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