In October 2013, in honour of the anniversary of the death of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII (†24 August 1313), the University of Pisa organised an international conference on the topic ‘Enrico VII, Dante e Pisa. A 700 anni dalla morte dell’imperatore e dalla Monarchia (1313-2013)’. As part of the conference, the physical remains of the emperor, preserved in a marble sarcophagus carved by Tino di Camaino and located in the right transept of the Dome of Pisa, were surveyed and examined. The tomb had been previously inspected prior to the examination in 2013. The most recent opening took place in 1921, on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri. The investigation led by the Opera della Primaziale Pisana in 2013 specifically aimed at a scientific examination of the materials. State-of-the-art techniques were applied to both the study of the bones and the funerary clothes. The physical remains of the emperor were wrapped in a textile, with the symbols of power (crown, sceptre and globus cruciger) along with a cylindrical metal box laid on top of the remains. The textile, previously described in the minutes from the 1921 opening as ‘a thin, striped cloth’, is of particular interest due to its large size and excellent state of preservation. The cloth is relatively well preserved, considering its conservation conditions, and still shows several elements of the original weaving such as the width of the cloth (containing both the selvedges), two chequered stripes in the starting and ending edges, and the longitudinal fold. The textile is a wide weft-faced compound twill textile (approximately 320 cm in length by 120 cm in width), woven in silk and linen with horizontal stripes of hazelnut alternating with light blue-green. In the light blue-green stripes, pairs of confronting lions are woven with threads of silver gilt membrane. A purple band is placed in the upper part of the cloth, decorated with a Kufic inscription. The finding is exceptional not only due to its historical context, but also to the fragility of the materials and the enormous conservation challenges, which relate to the conditions of the microclimate inside the sarcophagus. Thus, the conservation campaign, which began with the opening of the tomb, entailed a thorough diagnostic survey and accurate documentation. In particular, a diagnostic campaign was undertaken by a team including the Restauri Tessili laboratory in Pisa, the Institute for the Conservation and Valorization of Cultural Heritage of the National Research Council of Italy (ICVBC-CNR) in Florence and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pisa. In situ examinations were performed, along with laboratory analyses on micro samples to document the conditions of the textile before and after conservation. The goal of these examinations was to identify possible microbiological contamination, to date the textile by radiocarbon analysis and to identify the materials used in the production of the cloth. The discussion of the scientific data on the basis of the historical and stylistic studies raised several hypotheses and questions, which have led to plans for additional examination and analyses.
|Titolo:||The Coffin Cloth of Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor (†1313) - A diagnostic investigation and conservation intervention|
DEGANO, ILARIA (Corresponding)
|Anno del prodotto:||2017|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||4.1 Contributo in Atti di convegno|