The Holy Shroud » Science » The Research » The cloth
The Shroud is a linen cloth measuring 4.4 × 1.1 m. (14.3 × 3.7 ft): these are average measures since the many tractions it was subjected to along the years made its contour very irregular. It is a cloth upon which it was stitched a strip 8 cm wide on the long side. The blackboard dusters can be seen in the cloth visible external side and on the thinner added strip. Even if it is plausible there is a blackboard duster on the inside border of the cloth wide side seam, it is as well possible that patch was part of a linen cloth double in breadth and cut lengthwise when the shroud was tailored. As a matter of fact, such wide frames were used in ancient Egypt to weave the precious seamless tunic inconsutilis in a single piece double in breadth.
The tissue was widened very carefully paying attention that the cloth was finished laterally with blackboard duster as that of the big cloths visible side. The same itself is especially well-defined. So, it is a case of an addition set in by an expert leaving therefore no doubts about its originally being a part of the cloth and, moreover from the execution point of view, it is not inferior to its fine linen. The cloth, turned yellow today, originally was eggshell like natural linen is.
According to the deep analysis made by Gabriel Vial, the tissue structure has a 3/1 herringbone diagonal weave in a ratio of 80 warp to 4 weave threads. Each herringbone strip is made of 41 warp threads in one direction and 39 in the other one. The weave has two kinds of imperfections: in the first one some framework strips are thinner (37 warp threads) or wider (43 warp threads) than the normal; in the second one the herringbone framework is nearly 5 threads thinner inside one strip. It is unusual that the visible blackboard dusters are made of only two double threads. Both their warp threads have a 3/1 herringbone framework.
The wide cloth is made of nearly 50 herringbone links (each one made of two longitudinal strips) starting from the blackboard duster and ending at the seam by a half link. This simmetry makes it plausible the presence of a blackboard duster in this position. The patched strip, on the other hand, has only 7 links plus a half one once again to the blackboard duster near to it. At seaming point the strips framework direction of both sides of the tissue is the same.
The herringbone pattern dates back to the glacial period and does not fix a term for the tissue dating. The material is natural linen, not dyed, whose warp has single threads, irregularly spinned with Z twisting; the same goes for the weave whose threads are bigger spinned even more irregularly. These unevennesses suggest the fibre has been spinned by hand. The warp threads are average 38,3 cm, the weave ones are 25,8 cm. The linen of the Shroud is of really fine quality, cut from a cloth lengthways as requested and let out, by the described additions, as the case required. Since short sides do not have neither the "starting strip" (from which the tissue starts) nor a "final strip" on the opposite side, it is impossible the tissue was created with those dimensions for its specific use; this is proven by the fact that it was necessary to make an addition. Nevertheless, it is a linen of rare quality to be sold by the metre and afterwards carefully tooled to realize this cloth.