The gourd, originally used to store gunpowder, was extensively decorated on the outside with a flame tool. Burned into its surface is the text: “Maximilien Bourdaloue on January 21st, dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his beheading.”
“It is described in contemporaneous accounts that there was a lot of blood in the scaffold after the beheading and that, in fact, many people went there to dip their handkerchiefs in the blood,” Carles Lalueza-Fox, lead author of the study and a researcher at Spain’s Institute of Evolutionary Biology, told Discovery News.
The handkerchief is now missing from the gourd, but Lalueza-Fox and his team identified a brownish substance on the interior of the dried squash. Biochemical tests determined that the substance was dried blood.