Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Voynich Manuscript: Display in Washington DC

I went to see the Voynich manuscript and all I got for you is this lousy picture...

In my defense, the photography was not allowed at the Nov. 11, 2014 event at the Folger Shakespeare library where in the next few months the Voynich manuscript will be on display. So I just took one 'please-don't-kick-me-out'-no-flash pic. 

 The public presentation by Bill Sherman and Rene Zandbergen was very interesting and fair to everybody who gave the VMs mystery a try. I learned new things (like how to pronounce the name Beinecke correctly :)

Seriously, there were news. Here is the summary that was prepared by Rene Zandbergen for the VMs list:
"On Friday 7 November the MS was in the conservation lab of the Folger library, and studied by several top American conservators and experts in other fields. In particular the sewing looks to be original 15th C but this is to be confirmed by more detailed studies.

The parchment is not top quality (has holes and stitches), however it has been prepared with great care and intensity, to the extent that it is barely possible to distinguish the hair and flesh side of the pages.

From protein analysis of several pages, it is known the pages are made from calf skin. The same analysis did not produce a result for the cover, but a professional parchment maker immediately recognized it to be goat. It would have required between 15 and 20 hides to create the MS as we
know it.

From multispectral analysis it was confirmed that the MS was created
on blank vellum, and the MS is not a palimpsest. The most unique part of the MS may not even be that it has illegible writing. It is the fact that it is a parchment codex with foldout leaves. No other example of this was known to the experts.
The trend of pseudo-scripts in paintings and statues of this time appears
relevant.

The MS overall composition seems to be modeled after the Greek tradition
of a Iatrosophion.

One detail not presented: the 'gold specks' observed on one page of the
MS were looked at under a microscope, and turned out to be gum."
 Thanks Rene and Folger library! Let's hope some new scientific reports will be made public soon.