Mappa Turchesca

Venice, 2019-2020

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© Factum Foundation

In 2019, the Biblioteca Marciana started a project concerning a new philological edition of the Heart-shaped map of Hajji Ahmed, involving the memoranda of understanding between the Venetian institutes of IUAV University and the Academy of Fine Arts. In February 2019, Factum Foundation collaborated with the IUAV CIRCE Photogrammetry Lab to record the original cherry-wood printing blocks in high-resolution. The recording was part of an initiative led by ARCHiVe (Analysis and Recording of Cultural Heritage in Venice), and was framed as a comparative study designed to assess the merits of three recording techniques: photogrammetry, laser scanning, and the Lucida 3D Scanner.

© Factum Foundation

© Factum Foundation

© Factum Foundation

The photogrammetric survey was conducted using a Nikon D800 reflex with a 50mm lens, with the data processing employing the Agisoft Metashape Pro Software. A Range 7 triangulation laser scanner, employing both a telephoto lens and a wide angle lens (precision ± 40 microns), was then used to re-record the map. Alignment for the laser scanner was performed using Geomagic Studio software. Finally, the map was recorded with the Lucida 3D Scanner, which is designed for the acquisition of 3D information from objects with an almost flat surface, such as paintings or bas-reliefs. At the end of the investigation, a section (10 x 10 cm) of the data collected from the different systems was printed in 3D. The information acquired through the Lucida Scanner was found to be the most suitable for the purposes of creating a faithful copy of the product.

The scanned data was CNC milled and new printing blocks have been produced, from which one copy of the map has been made. 

A sample of the 3D data captured by the Lucida. © Factum Foundation

The recreated woodblocks during printing tests, in Factum Foundation's printing department © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

Woodblock facsimile during tests © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

Mike Ward printing one section of the Mappa Turchesca © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

Mike Ward working on the printed section © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

Detail of the printed edition © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

On 4, 5, 6 November 2020, Factum Foundation recorded in high resolution the back of the original printing blocks using the Lucida 3D Scanner, allowing for a more complete 3D model in the digital restoration phase leading to the second facsimile. Following the recording of both sides of the printing blocks, a digital restoration of the map will now be carried out in collaboration with the Biblioteca Marciana and IUAV: the blocks which make up the matrix of the Heart-shaped map of Hajji Ahmed map have deteriorated since they were carved. The digital restoration will merge the 3D scan of the woodblocks with a recently recorded scan of one of the few prints made from the blocks. The aim is to understand the map and its production more clearly. This will help conservators to identify the most appropriate actions to take in order to conserve the printing blocks but will hopefully also lead to new insights into the map, who made it and why. 

Sponsoring a further new edition of the map is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which aims to support the Biblioteca thanks to the ‘Associazione Amici della Marciana’ in promoting the museum’s cartographic works. 

The copy of the Mappa Turchesca printed from the recreated woodblocks © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

Guendalina Damone recording the back of the map of Hajji-Ahmed using the Lucida 3D Scanner © Oscar Parasiego for Factum Foundation


The Materiality of the Aura. New Technologies for Preservation
Part of La Riscoperta di un Capolavoro, in collaboration with Genus Bononiae
May 18th - December 31st 2020
Bologna, Palazzo Fava

The recreation of the woodblocks of the Mappa Turchesca and the print made from the blocks (left) alongside two enlarged pages from the Martirologio di Ferrara (right), made for the exhibition 'Mindful Hands' at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini. In the glass case at the centre of the room there are facsimiles of two Canova sketchbooks and the miniature Offiziolo di Carlo VII © Paolo Righi for Genus Bononiae

We thank Mario Costa and Fabio Martinello, students from the Master of Digital Architecture who have interned at ARCHiVe in Venice and Factum Foundation in Madrid, for their participation in the project.

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