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VMs: Stain on f93r

  > [GG:] Ink stain on f93r [... lots of gratuitous snivel ...]
Let me say right away that I find no "clear evidence" of retouching on
this page; only "suspicius cases" which may *or may not* be
retouchings. (A notable one is the "t" of EVA "cthos" at f93r.30.4,
but I admit that it is still not convincing enough.)

On the other hand, a lot of what you wrote about the stain and its
effects on the ink is wild fantasy.

  > we can deduce that this 'stain' was administered after the writing
Obviously so. The text, drawing, and paiting were quite dry when it
happened, and they were hardly affected by it.
  > and before most of the pigment had worn off by use.
I do not see any evidence of "wear" on this page. Wear should rub off
pigment from the high spots of the vellum, leaving the ink with a
mottled texture -- as on f1r. I don't see any of that here.

I do see faint and strong strokes, that may be due to chemical fading
and retracing, or just to ink flow accidents as you claim. But no
wear, and no flaking off of pigment.
  > And if I might be so impolite as to suggest that the term "ink
  > stain" may be inaccurate? [...] English tea, anyone? :-)

The stain is definitely too light to be ink. It may be Chinese tea, as
you say 8-), but also almost any organic liquid --- wine, malzbier,
coffee, cherry juice, soy sauce... They would all turn brown with

(As for *English* tea, I wonder... It could only have happened before
the manuscript appeared in Prague, i.e. before 1600. Was tea a common
beverage in Britain at that time?)

It could also be some chemical from an alchemist or apothecary lab.

Or it could be the contents of the cup of water where the Painter
washed his brush/quill/whatever. As I can attest from numerous
experiments conducted in my youth, that is a very common accident --
the washing cup is always near (or on top of) the paper, you move your
hand from the cup towards the page dozens of times, often while your
eyes and brain are focused on the painting... oops!

Anyway I suspect that the liquid was quite a bit darker than tea. It
does not seem that it was allowed to sit for long on the page: the ink
and paint were little affected, and the edges of the stain are not any
darker than the middle (as one sees when a dark liquid is allowed to
dry on a surface). It was probably mopped/blotted up right away. But
then the color of the stain is due to the very thin layer that
remained after mopping -- which means that the bulk liquid was much
darker than that.

There is a faint "ghost" or echo of the stain, visible near its bottom
end. In the SID image, the ghost is displaced about 340 pixels to the
right and 120 pixels up from the stain proper. The only way I can
explain that ghost is that some flat surface pressed against with the
page while the stain was still wet, then pressed again, displaced. It
could be blotting paper or cloth. It could be the facing page. Or
perhaps f93r was lying face down on the table.

The shape of the stain is somewhat puzzling. It doesn't look as if the
liquid *fell* on the vellum (no droplets splashing around), rather that
it flowed gently over it. Perhaps the washing cup was a small thimble
sitting on top of the page itself. Perhaps the liquid flowed between f93r
and some other surface that was lying against it, such as another
folio or the table top. Perhaps the liquid was spilled on the table,
and f93r was then placed over the spill inadvertently.

The long winding shape of the spill also suggests a "gentle" event
and may be further proof that the liquid flowed between f93r and
some other surface.  

On the other hand the spill is wider at the center, suggesting that
the liquid flowed from there towards the top and bottom. Another point
for the overturned washcup theory?

The center part of the stain has a greenish tint, and there are bits
of flaky green pigment that were apparently carried around by the
liquid and deposited in random places, some (but only some) of it
against the stain edges. The obvious candidate for the source of this
green pigment are the painted leaves, but looking closely that does
not seem to be the case: the painted areas were hardly affected by the
spill, and there is too much loose green pigment to be explained that

Perhaps the loose pigment came from some other page that was in
contact with f93r. Sadly f92r/f92v is missing. Perhaps not by coincidence?
Suppose that f92v was badly damaged by the spill, and Voynich or some
earlier owner/librarian decided to "improve" the book by discarding
that folio...

Or perhaps we have another evidence for the "spilled washcup" theory.
Namely, the loose green pigment came from sediment at the bottom of
the washcup (if you ever played around with tempera paint, you know
what I mean).

The stain is hardly visible on the verso page (f93v) and apparently
did not affect the writing or painting there in any way. This is more
strong evidence (as if any was needed) that vellum is quite
impermeable, and that most if not all the "bleedthrough" that we see
in the VMS is due to the vellum's tranlucency, not to the ink actually
crossing to the other side.

Thus the theory that bleedthrough darkens the writing by improving the
adherence of the ink is not only unnecessary (the optical effect
explains that quite well) but unlikely as well.

Page f93v has some "liquid spill" stains too, but they seem to be
uncorrelated with the stain on f93r, except at the very top of the
page. Presumably some of the liquid on f93r flowed over the top edge
and was smeared around f93v.

  > You remember my diatribe about how moisture causes the pigment to
  > adhere in places? Virtually every glyph within the boundary of
  > this 'stain' suggests that this observation is true. [...] The
  > glyphs that change dark-to-light and vice versa as they pass the
  > borders of the stain are too numerous to mention

Glen, you are allucinating. Of course the stain makes the strokes look
darker, just as it makes the vellum look darker. But that is all!
There is no sign of any effect of the stain on the "adherence of the
pigment" or whatever. Quite the opposite, the contrast between
light/dark strokes (irrespective of whether they are due to
retouching, reinking, or ink flow accidents) is completely oblivious
to the presence of this very extensive -- and very wet -- stain.

Take for example f93r.2.5 (EVA "chotom"): there is no discontinuity in
the quality or width of the "t" stroke as it enters the stain, only
the expected optical darkening; but the following "o" is much darker
-- and uniformly so. Ditto for f93r.3.4 (EVA "ytchchy") directly below it:
the "y" shows the expected optical darkening at the stain's edge, the
"t" is just like the "y", but the "ch" is much darker.

  > [Nick's] idea that the darker background enhances the
  > brightness/darkness of the glyph in question, and therefore
  > 'skews' the visual results, has to be checked against the final
  > {m} in f93r.7.4, as example, which apparently lacked the pigment
  > outlay necessary for full adherance.

Again, there is no real difference between the three strokes;
the first one shows only the darkening that is expected from 
it being overlaid by the stain.

  > Examine the single-letter glyph at f93v.29.5 for an exemplary
  > indication of the correctness of my assumption about the
  > pigmentation and its adherance qualities as relates to moisture.
(I suppose you mean the EVA "s" at *f93r*.29.5?)

Hardly. The discontinuity in the plume does *not* happen at the stain
edge, where your theory predicts, but rather where such discontinuities
are commonly found in plumes -- independently of stains or bleedthroughs.

For example, check the plume of the "n" in f93r.31.1 (EVA "shodaiin").
No stain there, but the tip of the plume is quite a bit thicker than
the rest -- just as in f93r.29.5.

  > Remember - the pigment is particulate, not part of the base, as I
  > see it - and the organic base did not react well with the
  > particulate pigment. This suggests that the pigment was not
  > organically based, or if it was, not well matched to the ink base.
  > In any event, the particulate reacts to moisture, and is therefore
  > water-soluble, while the base does not appear to react to water or
  > 'stains' such as we see on f93r.

Of course. We may therefore conclude that the pigment is radioactive
lunar dust, the stain is kryptonite-laced Earl Grey tea, and the
vellum is superconducting unicorn skin.

All the best,


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