Restoration attempt on f116v?

What has happened on f116v in the last few years?

The very last vellum page of the Voynich Manuscript has a cut on the top outermost corner. This is quite clear comparing the older photographs we see on JasonDavies (link) with the modern images released late last year.

Screenshot of the area in question from
Screenshot of the area in question from (before repair to cut)

And here is the current state of the MS from the .tif files released late last year by Beineicke:

The cut shows clear evidence of "repair" - from the latest .tif files
The cut shows clear evidence of “repair” with something fibrous – from the latest .tif files

The repair is only on one side, which I suppose is fair enough as any repairs to the reverse (f116r) could damage the illustrations that run there, although it wraps around the top of the page, just missing the top of the illustration and the bottom of the first “P”:

Whatever that stuff is, it's wrapped over the top of the folio
Whatever that stuff is, it’s wrapped over the top of the folio

I’ve searched around online and found no reference to any repair work being carried out to the manuscript.

Does anyone know:

  • What this stuff is? It looks very fibrous.
  • When this was done and by whom?
  • And why they didn’t repair the whole cut, stopping the repair half way down?

Later on, Helmut from the VMS wrote an interesting response it’s hair that the Beineicke probably unfolded for the photo and continued to say:

Yes, at least part of it. I think the hair was hidden inside the crease. I think there was or is a crease or fold as well as a cut or hole besides and below the crease which were sewn over at some time, you can see the holes of the needle in the old scans very well, now there are only four (?) visible any more. And I think you can see the crease very well once you know what you are looking for, especially at the upper edge of 116r. And you can see just one row of holes along the crease and two rows along the hole. There have been two seams, one using thin thread keeping the upper part of the crease with hidden hair together and another one using strong thread holding the rest of the hairy piece and the cut together.

I think what happened was parchment maker had piece of defective parchment, remaining hair and holes, folds hair and hole into crease, sews it over. String or thread is lost in time, upper part of crease stays on and hides hair, lower part straightens out, hole becomes visible again. For Parchment maker say his apprentice or the VMs author himself. There are several examples of holes sewn over in the ms. where only the needle holes are visible.

Of course, you are right when you say there was some repair done, but it was done 600 years ago.


Read the whole conversation over at Voynich.Ninja.

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