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The wrinkle is not only beautiful.

The wrinkles on the Shroud tell us a lot about its history. The advantage of linen is that, if it is not ironed, the wrinkles remain. By studying its folds, we can deduce where it has been and find out its historical path.


In the Shroud we find some water marks (on the chest and above the head and the same on the dorsal), of unknown date. They are the oldest marks. The position and the axes that they show indicate that it could have been folded in 4 parts and, later, in bellows. It would be a folding in 32 layers. This form coincides with other fabrics found at Qumran, and the water stains could be condensation inside the jar, which is consistent with the environment around the Dead Sea.


We also found wrinkles that correspond to a folding that coincides with the descriptions we have of the mandylion of Edessa. It would be folded in half and then in four more folds. Therefore, it would be a tetradiplon (folded in 2x4). The folding, therefore, would be in 8 layers. It would be an argument in favor of the identification of the Shroud with the mandylion.

A third way of having been folded is indicated by the famous burns in L. Here it would have been folded in 4 layers. We cannot know or hypothesize when it was like this, but it is certain that it was before 1150, since they appear in the Codex Pray of 1192 and, according to the textile expert Flury-Lemberg, they are burns of chemical origin that evolve during about 50 years.

If the Shroud is the one that was exposed on Fridays of Lent in Constantinople, and that will give rise to the Imago Pietatis, it would be folded in two and, later, in bellows, to be able to be unfolded. In this hypothesis is where the wrinkles give us less information.

Up to this point we move in the realm of hypothesis. From here on it is documented.

In Chambery it was folded in 48 layers (12x3). This folding will give rise, after the fire, to the well-known burns that we see clearly: the two longitudinal bands and the triangles where the fabric is missing.

After its restoration in 1534, it was folded and rolled up in a rectangular silver urn. This way of being stored, with the linings that were added, caused some irregular wrinkles that we can see in the photos prior to the 2002 restoration.


After restoration and stretching for better conservation in 2002, many of these wrinkles have been lost. With them has disappeared relevant historical information that cannot be contrasted in future research on the Shroud.


It is a pity not to have preserved them. The wrinkle is not only beautiful but important.


Ignacio Huertas Puerta, CESAN delegate.

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