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VMs: The Painter and the Retoucher
> [Dennis:] If the ink of the Retoucher is identical with the
I have looked at RGB values from one page only (f4v), and there the
inks seem distinct but similar - same hue and saturation, but the new
ink is quite a bit darker. In my understanding of how inks work, this
is not a matter of the new strokes having more ink or thicker ink --
the pigment itself is darker, as if it was mixed with black.
However the truth may be more complicated. To my eyes, both the old
and new inks on f4v look like tempera or watercolor -- a solid
ochre-colored powder carried on a colorless liquid. But on some zodiac
pages, the old ink looks different, as if it was a reddish-brown oily
This impression comes from observing that the old ink does not seem to
hide the background, but only to change its color, like a rosy-colored
glass; and that the edges of characters are slightly blurred, like
those of oil spots on paper.
I read somewhere that, before the iron-gall ink was invented in the
12th century, people often used a reddish-brown tarry liquid colected
from chimneys and such. Could that be the nature of the old ink on
> most likely the retouching was done by the author. Possibly to
> make the text clearer. I've done as much myself to my own stuff.
Perhaps, however the retouching seems too extensive and mechanical for
that. It it was the author himself, I would expect him (or her, of
course) to rewrite very faint words without caring to retrace them
exactly. Instead he seems to have carefully followed the old traces in
the most minute details, even those that seem obviously mis-shapen.
Moreover there are places where the Retracer apparently made mistakes,
or seemed unsure about the charater's "normal" shape. I will try to
locate specific examples...
> I think it's pretty well accepted that the VMs author did not
> write the zodiac labels. So [month name analysis] would be a
> matter of finding more about where and in whose hands the VMs had
> been after its composition.
I thought so too, because the writing and ink were clearly different
from those of normal text -- even on the B&W images. But now I am
worried that below the "new dark" month names we may find faint "old
All the best,
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