Voynich Manuscript Scan wishlist...
Here's a (reasonably complete, I hope) list of anomalous features and marks in the Voynich Manuscript
(Beinecke MS 408A) for which a closer examination (ideally by a high resolution scan) may help resolve many of
the vast array of unanswered questions we face to do with its nature, structure, and provenance.
For 24-bit colour scans, there is also a technical issue to do with limited dynamic range (only 8 bits per gun),
far less than the eye can perceive: many pages with a wide dynamic range may be better supported by scans
of multiple smaller "detail" areas within the page. (I'm thinking in particular of the nine-rosette 'map' page here)
I've sorted this wishlist by priority (highest first) - the higher up the list, the more likely I think that a detail
scan will produce useful information (or the more contentious the area, such as the 'michiton oladabas' text on f116v)
Enough of the preamble - on with the list! Please send any suggestions or corrections to me,
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(1) Non-Voynichese marginalia:-
(2) The central details of each of the zodiac folios. These are very hard to make out clearly, as they appear to have
been drawn by one person, painted by another, and had month names added by a third. A more detailed scan would help conceptually
separate these layers more satisfactorily - for example, we have also tried to date and place the crossbowman
(in the Sagittarius diagram), but have been frustrated by the lack of clarity in all the scans.
- Higher priority details...
- f1r details (there appear to be lots of indistinct marginalia on this page)
- f1v top-left group of leaves (there appears to be a "5" or an "S" in one of them?)
- f4r roots (there appears to be "TOA" written up the lower part of the stem)
- f17r top line (this appears to have been added by an early owner)
- f66r "musdel" woman in bottom left (the whole group in that corner is quite mysterious)
- f116v "michiton oladabas" page (of course! The page that spawned 1000 bizarre theories)
- Lower priority details...
- f28v centre of flower (what does it say?)
- f49v 'abcde' vertical column (possibly use the letters to determine the author?)
- f66v scrawl in bottom left (very indistinct in current scans)
- f68v3 "Andromeda" smudged stars inside wolkenband (hard to make this out ATM)
- f70r1 outermost ring "...oooo..." text (possibly an oddity, or indistinct Voynichese)
- f86v central overwritten text & T-O shape
(3) Any of the zodiac "nymph costumes" in detail (ie the clothes worn by the nymphs around the diagram,
not by the people in the middle of the diagram): for example:-
(4) The nine-rosette "map" page - this came out terribly badly in the CopyFlo, yet appears to hold an absolute
wealth of detail embedded in it. It might be a good idea to scan not only the whole image at 400dpi, but also the central
and four corner rosettes at (say) 1200dpi as well.
- f71r clothed nymphs
- f71v clothed nymphs
- f72v1 crowned nymph
- f72v3 crowned nymph
(5) The quire signatures - this might be used to try to date the handwriting. While I suspect I may now
know whose handwriting this is, without a higher resolution scan (to the point that individual quill-strokes become clearly
visible) this may prove impossible to falsify or support.
(6) The 'pharma' jars (ie bussolotti/pixidae) in the first pharma section. These may well be able to be
used as source material by an early modern glass historian to establish links with external traditions. Certainly, one
of them has the same dotted decoration as some Murano glass in the V&A in London.
(7) Unclear areas, especially in the balneology section. There are numerous strange visual details
throughout this whole section which simply cry out for a dramatically better scan. Some examples:-
(8) Miscellaneous areas of interest
- f79r nymph in lower pool
- f79v "golden fleece" lamb & "mermaid" in pond
- f80r individual nymphs - details are so hard to make out on this page
- f80v the "brain" shape in the left column + all individual nymphs
- f82r nymphs in pool, etc
- f84r smudged text in lower pool
- f46v the hole in the vellum Sergio Toresella noted that this looked like it had been deliberately worn through
- f57v the central "four direction demons" - these have occasioned much debate over the years... what do they represent?
- f112r / f112v the indented text area (top right / top left) - is there a vellum flaw here or was it in the (pre-copy) original?
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