Examine the Shroud

The Shroud as it now appears after the June-July 2002 restoration

In June-July 2002, a major restoration of the Shroud of Turin was undertaken by its owners. All thirty of the patches sewn into the cloth in 1534 by the Poor Clare nuns to repair the damage caused by the 1532 fire were removed. This allows the first unrestricted view of the actual holes burned into the cloth by the fire. It appears that some of the most seriously charred areas surrounding the burn holes were also removed during the restoration, most likely to allow the Shroud to be properly resewn to the new backing cloth. The original backing cloth (known as the Holland Cloth) that was added at the same time as the patches, was also removed and replaced with a new, lighter colored cloth, which can now be seen through the burn holes. Although the creases and wrinkles that had been previously evident on the Shroud are not visible in this photograph, I am assured by those who have seen the restored cloth that they are in fact, still there. These are critical because they can help determine how the cloth was folded over the centuries and constitute an important clue for historians. By scrolling this page up and down, you can compare the cloth as it appeared for over 400 years with its new appearance today.

The image on the Shroud of Turin is very subtle. The closer you get, the less distinct it becomes. One of the best ways to look at the Shroud image is on a photographic negative. There, the light and dark values are reversed and the image appears more realistic and natural.

Closeup of the Facial Image as it appears to the eye (above) and on a photographic negative (below). These images have been rotated 90 degrees for a more pleasing view. Also, the negative image has been flipped left to right to appear as it would on a photographic negative. Notice how this causes the dark bloodstain on the forehead to reverse into the distinctive “#3” shape, by which it is most often identified. Remember too, the closer you are to the image, the less distinct it appears. Try backing away from your monitor as you watch the image on your screen. Notice how both images improve as the distance increases.

Closeup of a scorch. Note the holes burned through the cloth and several small patches. At right are portions of two large patches. Also visible in the center of the scorch is water stain. A crease is seen going through the center of the symmetrical scorch, indicating where the Shroud was folded at the time of the 1532 fire.

Closeup of the hands of the Shroud image. Note the bloodstains in the wrist area. Most art depicts the crucifixion with nails through the palms of the hands. However, the weight of a body cannot be supported by the structure of the hands. The nails must be driven through the wrist to support the weight of a body.

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