THE MIRACULOUS CACTUS...or Tequila Sunrise?
The time has come to take a look at the Tilma.
First, its miraculous physical properties...There appears to be a general confusion about the plant fibres used to weave the Tilma. A variety of Cactus? A variety of Agave? Hemp and linen? Despite conflicting opinions, devout scientists speak with great authority about the qualities of the cloth.
In 2002, art restoration expert José Sol Rosales said he examined the icon with a stereomicroscope and that he identified calcium sulfate, pine soot, white, blue, and green "tierras" (soil), reds made from carmine and other pigments, as well as gold. Rosales said he found the work consistent with 16th century materials and methods.*
At the recent 'International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe' hosted by the Knights of Columbus, participants were informed by researcher and physicist Dr. Aldolfo Orozco** that:
"...there is no scientific explanation for the 478 [?] years of high quality-preservation of the Tilma or for the miracles that have occurred to ensure its preservation."He went on to explain that:
“All the cloths similar to the Tilma that have been placed in the salty and humid environment around the Basilica have lasted no more than ten years...”In contrast, Orozco said:
“The original Tilma was exposed for approximately 116 years without any kind of protection, receiving all the infrared and ultraviolet radiation from the tens of thousands of candles near it and exposed to the humid and salty air around the temple.”Dr. Orozco then discussed the Tilma’s fabric. He noted that:
“one of the most bizarre characteristics of the cloth is that the back side is rough and coarse, but the front side is ‘as soft as the most pure silk, as noted by painters and scientists in 1666, and confirmed one century later in 1751 by the Mexican painter, Miguel Cabrera.”
to be continued...Catholic News Agency