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Re: VMs: Colored paints, touch-ups, and the michiton text

Without knowing the chemical compositon of the ink, it may be rather 
difficult to determine the principle colors applied to the VMs. What is now 
brown may have originally been a lot closer to black. It would be great if 
we can entice Beinecke to embark on a non-intrusive physical/chemical 
analysis of the manuscript.

Raman Microscopic Technique for examining illuminated manuscripts:

Dana Scott

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jorge Stolfi" <stolfi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <vms-list@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, July 03, 2004 12:29 PM
Subject: Re: VMs: Colored paints, touch-ups, and the michiton text

> About the month names (and touch-ups) in the zodiac section, Gabriel
> asks:
>   > [Gabriel:] Erm... what about the same person at a later date with
>   > a different pen and ink?
> Could be. By the way, the hue and darkness of the "new" ink seems (to my
> very amateurish eyes) fairly similar to that of other manuscripts that
> I have seen on the net, such as the Kircher letters.  Whereas the
> "old" ink has a dull brown-ocher tint, which apparently has intrigued 
> other
> people too (was it Glen who once said that some manuscripts from
> Cambridge also use a similar brown ink?).
> However it is hazardous to make such color judgements from digital
> images (CRT gamma and all that).
> Anyway, while the month names *may* have been written by the same person
> who wrote the Voynichese text, it now looks just as possible that they
> were written by a later owner.  So while those labels may give us precious
> clues about the history of the VMS, we can no longer assume that their
> language was the language of the VMS main author.
> As you recall, the language of those labels still has not been
> identified with certainty. However, the spelling of "April" with "b"
> instead of "p" points to Spanish or Portuguese (where the month is
> spelled "Abril"), or Arabic (which has no "p" sound, and uses "b"
> instead in foreign borrowings). Moreover, the epenthetic "i" ("Abiril"
> rather than "Abril") seems to point to Arabic, which AFAIK does not
> allow "br". So the person who wrote the labels could be an Arab-speaking
> person in Europe, e.g. in Spain (which was partially under Islamic rule
> ultil late 15th century).
>   > If that "phi" character appears (probably) under the paint in a
>   > few instances there is a possibility that either the same author
>   > wrote everything, or the painter (if it was done after) wrote the
>   > phi in the flowers/leaves and the oladabas page.
> It seems a long stretch to call that letter a "phi". In modern Greek
> script, at least, the lowercase "phi" is written with a single stroke,
> beginning with the round part and going counterclockwise; so the "eye"
> ends up on the right side of the stem, not on the left as in f9v.
> The letter on f9v looks like a miniature and incomplete EVA "t". It
> could be a distorted EVA "q" with upturned arm...
> It has also occurred to me that the "phi" could be not a letter but part
> of the drawing -- a stamen, pistill, or whatever. Are there similar
> details on the other front-viewed flowers, under the blue paint?
> BTW, the reason why the color separation did not work so well on f9v
> may be sample contamination from the brown ink. It appears that that
> the painting-over dissolved a little of the brown ink and created a
> faint brown smudge, running diagonally over the "phi". So perhaps the
> separation will improve if you resample the blue ink where there is no
> brown smudge.
> All the best,
> --stolfi
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