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A burial cloth, which some historians maintain was the Shroud, was owned by the Byzantine emperors but disappeared during the Sack of Constantinople in 1204.Although there are numerous reports of Jesus' burial shroud, or an image of his head, of unknown origin, being venerated in various locations before the 14th century, there is no historical evidence that these refer to the shroud currently at Turin Cathedral.There are some burn holes and scorched areas down both sides of the linen, caused by contact with molten silver during the fire that burned through it in places while it was folded.The historical records for the shroud can be separated into two time periods: before 1390 and from 1390 to the present.Its most distinctive characteristic is the faint, brownish image of a front and back view of a naked man with his hands folded across his groin.The two views are aligned along the midplane of the body and point in opposite directions.Prior to 1390 there are some similar images such as the Pray Codex.However, what is claimed by some to be the image of a shroud on the Pray Codex has crosses on one side, an interlocking step pyramid pattern on the other, and no image of Jesus.
It is first securely attested in 1390, when a local bishop wrote that the shroud was a forgery and that an unnamed artist had confessed; radiocarbon dating of a sample of the fabric is consistent with this date.
Some shroud researchers have challenged the dating, arguing the results were skewed by the introduction of material from the Middle Ages to the portion of the shroud used for radiocarbon dating.
The image on the shroud is much clearer in black-and-white negative - first observed in 1898 - than in its natural sepia color.
He is muscular and tall (various experts have measured him as from 1.70 to 1.88 m or 5 ft 7 in to 6 ft 2 in).
Reddish-brown stains are found on the cloth, showing various wounds that, according to proponents, correlate with the yellowish image, the pathophysiology of crucifixion, and the Biblical description of the death of Jesus.