Monday, April 20

Item # 82: Doctrina Christiana, en lengua espanola y tagala

I really should be doing something else, but via some links I found out that the World Digital Library, slated to open later this month, is already operational. I didn't really expect to find anything from the Philippines. But I saw that there were several entries from Southeast Asia, and the Doctrina Christiana was part of the list. The book is described as follows:
Published in Manila in 1593, this catechism in Spanish and Tagalog is the first book printed in the Philippines. It is also the first book printed in a Philippine language and the first, and only, 16th-century source showing an explicit and distinctly Philippine abecedarium (alphabet). The book is illustrated with a woodcut frontispiece of St. Dominic and initial letters in both Spanish and Tagalog. Part of the rare book collections of the Library of Congress, it is the only known copy in existence.
The book was donated to the Library of Congress by the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection, and this is the only extant copy in the whole wide world. It has 76 pages, with illustrations and roughly 12.5 inches in height. And if you have the bandwidth, you can download a PDF copy of it, all 32 MB of it.

The other interesting finds in the Philippine section include a map detailing The Attack of Manila, October 1762, a photo of a religious parade featuring the Santa Rosa de Lima--the Patroness of the New World and the Philippines-- and a 22-second, black and white silent reel about Aguinaldo's Navy. All are downloadable.

The other item which peaked my interest was the journal of Magellan's voyage supposedly written by Antonio Pigafetta. The surviving copy is in French and unfortunately NOT downloadable. But really, I have nothing to complain about since the journal can be browsed, and perhaps it's only a matter of time before the World Digital Library will have a version of it available for downloading in one piece. If not, there's always the option of saving it per page--all 200+ pages of it. Then again, one has to be well versed in French in order to fully understand this.

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