Collection fishing, Writing systems

Marcilla y Martin’s ‘Estudio de los antiguos alfabetos filipinos’

I doubt that there is any other library in the world that will let any old schmo handle a rare 120-year-old document and go and scan it using the library’s own equipment.

If WorldCat is to be believed, there are only six copies of Marcilla y Martin’s 1895  Estudio de los antiguos alfabetos filipinos (Malabon: Tipo-litografia del asilo de huérfanos) in public archives worldwide. One of these is in the National Library of Australia.

Yesterday I scanned just a couple of high-resolution pages, including the brilliant frontispiece. The text of this volume is actually fairly unenlightening – grammatologists should not expect any grand insights – but the typesetting and illustrations are brills. In an earlier version of this post I extended my admiration to the reproductions of Philippine letter shapes – Chris Miller has informed me that they are actually serious distortions!

Marcilla y Martin frontispiece for Estudio de los antiguos alfabetos filipinos (1895)

Frontispiece for Marcilla y Martin’s Estudio de los antiguos alfabetos filipinos (1895)

Cuadros for script samples in Marcilla y Martin's Estudios de los antiguos alfabetos filipinos (1895)

Cuadros for script samples in Marcilla y Martin’s Estudio de los antiguos alfabetos filipinos (1895)

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