Just some 300 year-old Giant Books

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No need for your reading glasses on this one, but perhaps some knowledge of 18th century Spanish might be useful. This is one of a collection of twelve giant books made in 1715 by a priest in New Spain (as in Spanish colonial Mexico), currently being preserved by the library of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Nearly a meter long, made with animal skin wood and leather caps containing scripts for religious ceremonies in convents during the colonial era, they were found by a graphic documents restorer, Tania Estrada, who tracked down the books which were donated to various libraries in Mexico in 1915. Now most of the volumes are safely accounted for in Mexico City and being preserved by specialists, but get this– according to a 1915 inventory of books donated, there’s still one missing…

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Most of the collection is still in remarkably good condition with their original bindings, despite the unfavourable conditions they’ve been hanging out in for the last century, but two of the books are naked and have lost their binding.

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As for the missing giant book? Researchers and art historians believe its out there somewhere. Referred to in the preserved 1915 inventory by Antonoi Cortès, a former employee of the National Museum of Anthropology, he notes that it was likely written by the Friar Miguel de Aguilar in 1710. Investigations to locate the book are still ongoing.

Anybody seen a giant book lying around?

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Photographs via the Instituto Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia.

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