THE REAL MESSIAH BLOG: Three Samaritan letters or two in the Inscription

Three Samaritan letters or two in the Inscription

copyright 2008 Stephan Huller

By Rory Boid (personal correspondence)

The mark between the Samaritan Shin and the square Bet is definitely a punctuation mark. It is not a short line. What was carved was a very big dot, with a short line upwards to make it more prominent. Have a look at the PDF picture labelled Throne2. This can be seen on some of the other pictures as well.

When he was being careful, the carver marked the ends of lines with a dot and chiselled a line up to there. Have a look at left of the inscription in the black and white picture in the PDF folder Venise. If you get the magnification right, you will see this as a white dot at the end of each main line. Then have a look at some of the other pictures. The very detailed version of the inscription labelled Trono Reliquario is useful for this. There is a dot at the top of the left stroke of the Shin, but not at the top of the right stroke of the Alef. This stroke of the Alef would not exactly touch the dot of the Shin if extended. It would go a bit to the left. Look carefully and you will see a dot at EXACTLY the point where the two lines would meet if extended. This would make a Tav, but not perfectly proportioned. Then look at the traces of inking starting from the end of the left stroke of the Alef and going up but slanting to the right to meet the end of the left line of the Shin. You will see this if you look at your own pictures and adjust the controls. You will need to increase shadowing, change the colour balance, and so on. This is right at the limit of visibility. This line completes a perfectly proportioned Tav. I have looked at this spot so many times that it’s hard to be objective. Tell me what you think.

To silence doubt, you could make this comparison. Point out that the carving for the right stroke of the Alef extends downwards past the start of the slanty line of the Alef to a carved dot, but there is another carved line departing from the direction of the slanty stroke and tilting up a bit to meet the end of rightmost line. This is the line that has been inked in. If the line had not been tilted like this the Alef would have been out of proportion.

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