Mar. 25th, 2010

nyarlathotep: (Default)
[personal profile] nyarlathotep

Item is a 5” x 6.5” Qur’an, bound in calfskin leather. Cover is waterproof, with buckles and clasps that suggest that it was meant for travel. A bronze chain is attached to the Qur’an, as if like a bookmark. The end of the chain is severed, as if by force. Binding arrangement is standard RTL.

The pages of the document aren’t made from paper — microscopic analysis indicates some kind of plastic, very similar to modern Durabook polymers. The printing method looks like a form of offset lithography/intaglio printing.

The inks are particularly interesting, as well. The work is, by all indications, full-color, but the inks are all of the same chemical composition — a long-chain carbon polymer that works like a photonic crystal. In short: it reflects like in different ways due to how the molecules of the ink are arranged, not it’s chemical composition. The inks themselves fluoresce under UV light, and we’ve managed to recover some anomalous plant cells. We’re sending some of these off for analysis.

Despite the rather modern (and frankly, despite the great beauty of the the work, both aesthetically and as a work of engineering, rather unnerving features), sample analysis (using radioactive dating) of the cover and paper make the date of manufacture and printing of the work to circa early-to-mid 1500 AD.

Printer’s mark confirms this (nation of origin: Venetian Republic: Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia), with the following date notations in inner cover:

ANNO DOMINI 5 MAIUS 1537 / هجرة ٥٢ ذو القعدة ٣٤٩

yifu: (Default)
[personal profile] yifu

Item details:
Age: Early to mid-16th century
Length: 23 centimeters
Weight: 290 grams

A kujang is a Sundanese traditional weapon with various other functions. At first this particular one was estimated to be a Kujang Pusaka, a talisman to keep away enemies, sickness, or danger, due to its preserved appearance and lack of visible battle scars. Further examination, however, shows it to be a Kujang Pakarang, the type of kujang used in combat. The kujang was discovered in Bogor, West Java, which in ancient times was Pakuan, the center of the Sunda kingdom; it was kept within a plain rectangular box of woven rattan, fragile with age.

The traditionally curved blade is made of thin steel and fashioned in the "crane" shape, while the "eyes" are covered with silver. The outer edge of the blade is serrated halfway down. A broad gold ring covers the part where the blade connected with the sandalwood hilt, worn smooth with handling. When the end of the hilt is pulled hard enough and at a certain angle, a small compartment will pop out. Tiny packets are found within the compartment, one of them containing what seemed to be the remains of belladonna leaves.

First post + Fixed a factual error.

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