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3D laser scanning the Turin cotton cemí

The Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, University of Turin, Italy

Accession number 1676

conservator laser scanning the cotton figure 

Scanning the Turin cotton cemí|. The cemí| is made of woven cotton and has shells and a human skull incorporated into it.

Unlike many of the sculptures studied in this project, the Turin cotton cemí is not on public display. The sculpture was brought out of storage especially so that it could be 3D laser scanned and studied. It took three days to scan the whole sculpture, and a further day to take high resolution photographs. These images were mapped onto the 3D model of the cotton cemí during data processing.

detail showing the Perspex support used for scanning the sculpture 

3D laser scanning the cotton cemí from underneath through a Perspex support.

To scan the cemí from underneath, data was collected by scanning through the Perspex support the sculpture was sitting on. As Perspex is clear, the laser light can pass through it. The data recorded in this way is not as accurate as data recorded directly from the object; although Perspex is clear, the light is offset slightly as it goes through it. However, as there was no other way of reaching this area of the sculpture, this was the best method of capturing the 3D data for this section of the piece.

detail of fabric of cotton sculpture 

The Turin cotton cemí close up showing the fine weave of the cotton.

Unlike the wooden sculptures recorded as part of this project, holes in the 3D data collected by scanning the cemí were not filled during data processing. There are some areas on the cotton cemí where there are very fine fibres sticking up from the surface of the piece. It is these fine cotton fibres that cause some small holes to occur in the 3D data. However, there are also holes in the 3D data related to the texture of the cotton weave.

Click on the thumbnails below to see the results of 3D laser scanning the Turin cemí.

Screenshot of the 3D computer model of the Turin cotton cemí (front view). Screenshot of the 3D computer model of the Turin cotton cemí (side view). Screenshot of the 3D computer model of the Turin cotton cemí (back view). Screenshot of the 3D computer model of the Turin cotton cemí (top view). Screenshot of the 3D computer model of the Turin cotton cemí with colour photos mapped onto the 3D model in areas of particular interest. Screenshot of the 3D computer model of the Turin cotton cemí with a colour photo mapped onto the 3D model. The cemí has shells incorporated into the cotton weave around the eyes. Screenshot of the 3D computer model of the Turin cotton cemí with a colour photo mapped onto the 3D model. The navel showing resins adhering to the surface, suggesting that the area was inlaid. Screenshot of the 3D computer model of the Turin cotton cemí with a colour photo mapped onto the 3D model, showing secorative checked-weave patterns on the upper left leg. Screenshot of the 3D computer model of the Turin cotton cemí with a colour photo mapped onto the 3D model, showing resinous materials adhering to the lower left leg

The video clip below shows the 3D model with a texture (colour map) applied.

Further information

A 3D interactive viewer| has also been created of the Turin cotton  cemí .