“Never did the language of the Aztecs rise to such nobility

as in the hand of this Augustinian” (Garibay)

Sir Thomas Phillipps’ Copy

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459. MIJANGOS, Juan de. Espeio divino en lengva Mexicana, en qvue pveden verse los padres, y tomar documento para acertar a doctrinar bien a sus hijos, y aficionarlos a las virtudes. Compvesto por el Padre F. Ioan de Mijangos, Religioso indigno, y humilde de la Orden del Glorioso Padre Augustino, Doctor de la Yglesia, y Obispo de Yponia, &c.... EnMexico, con licencia. En la Imprenta de Diego Lopez Daualos, 1607. [Colophon] Acabose de imprimir esta presente obra en la moy noble, y leal Ciudad de Mexico, a veynte y quatro de Iulio, Vispera del Glorioso Apostol Sanctiago Patron de España. Año de 1607. [16], 1-72, 77-562, [2 (of 6)] pp., wood-engraved emblem of arms of the Augustinian Order (on title and A1 verso); 4 full-page wood-engraved portraits in text: Saint Augustine with City of God in background (p. [8]), the Blessed Virgin (p. [16]); Bishop’s arms (p. 2), and Santa Monica (last leaf verso); large woodcut initials, head- and tail-pieces, woodcut on colophon (Espinosa’s device). 4to (20 x 14.5 cm), nineteenth-century three-quarter calf over blue and grey marbled boards, spine gilt lettered and decorated. Light scuffing and binding wear, particularly at corners. Wants final two leaves of index (“Tabla para los Predicadores”). Title soiled, trimmed, and mounted, some light browning and staining, worming throughout mostly in gutter margin (some losses of letters), some side notes trimmed. Seventeenth-century ownership ink inscription of the library of the Colegio de San Gregorio on verso of title page. Legendary bibliophile Sir Thomas Phillipps’ copy, inscribed MHC in pencil on front pastedown. Old printed description tipped to front pastedown with pencil note: Fischer 1138. Various dealers’ pencil notes on endpapers, including 1919 Quaritch note on rear pastedown and another in 1986 erroneously noting that the book is complete. Complete copies are rare.

     First edition. Andrade 28. Ayer N155. Beristáin de Souza, Biblioteca Hispano Americana Septentrional, Vol. II, p. 273. Bibliotheca Mejicana 1138 (this copy). JCB I (2, 1600-1658), p. 46.Brunet (Supplement) I, col. 1030 (missing three leaves at end). Garcia Icazbalceta, Lenguas 45. Harmsworth 28:8510 (this copy). León-Portillo, Tepuztlahcuilolli, impresos en náhuatl: Historia y bibliografía,pp. 68, 82-83. Medina, México 238: “A good imprint using Elzevier inspired types and the largest work in Nahuatl in the seventeenth century” (in translation). Palau 168872. Pilling 2581 (noting that Icazbalceta calls for three final leaves, an assertion confirmed by the collation of his copy now in UT-Austin). Quaritch, Rough List 112 (1891):1600 (describing as “very rare,” offering at £4 s10 the Ramírez copy in vellum, without the preliminary leaves and the two leaves of index, stating the only other copy they know is Fischer’s “bad copy” wanting the two leaves of index which must be “extraordinarily rare”). Ramírez Sale 552. Sabin 48908: “Extremely rare.” Ugarte 236. Vigil, Catálogos de la Biblioteca Nacional de México, Vol. 9, p. 111. Viñaza, Bibliografía Española de Lenguas Indígenas de América 119. According to notes provided to the consignor, this copy was acquired for Sir Thomas Phillipps by Cole, and was at one time in the Gavito collection.

     Author Juan de Mijangos (died ca. 1625-1627) was born in Antequera, the capital of Oaxaca. He joined the Augustinian order and taught philosophy and theology in the University of Mexico. He preached and taught Natives in their own language, in which he was the leading expert of his time. In addition to the present work, he wrote Parte del Sermonario, Dominical y Sanctoral, en Lengua Mexicana (Mexico, 1624). The present book is a large work of moral and theological philosophy, the main text of which is entirely in Nahuatl with Latin side notes, for use by both literate Native Americans and clergy working among the indigenous population of Mexico in the early seventeenth century. The text, in the form of a dialogue between a father and his son, is considered a masterpiece of Nahuatl. The colophon acknowledges the valuable contributions of typesetter-editor Agustín de la Fuente as corrector of the language in the book. A native letrado who knew Latin, Spanish, and Nahuatl, Fuente was an influential presence at Davalos’ printing establishment.

     The woodcuts are beautiful and well done. The portrait of St. Augustine is one of the earliest of him created in the New World. The imprint itself is a technical feat due to the difficulties of printing material in Nahuatl. Printer Diego López Dávalos worked in Mexico between 1601 and 1615, and his most noted imprint was Liber quatuor passiones Christi (1604), “obra maestro de tipografía” (Dicc. Porrúa). Indigenous people were directly involved in the work of printing books at López Dávalos’ establishment. They served as scribes, printers, engravers, and bookbinders (see p. 53 in Marina Garone Gravier’s “De Flandes a la Nueva España: Derroteros de la tipografía Antuerpiana en las imprentas de España y México” in Bibliographica Americana, No. 7, December 2011).For more on López Dávalos, see Medina, México, pp. cxvii-cxviii.

     Willard P. Gingerich, “A Bibliographic Introduction to Twenty Manuscripts of Classical Nahuatl Literature” in Latin American Research Review, Vol. 10, No. 1, Spring, 1975, pp. 105-125:

Garibay says of the Divine Mirror (Espejo Divino) by Father Juan de Mijangos: “Never did the language of the Aztecs rise to such nobility as in the hand of this Augustinian.” While we may question the validity of such praise, considering Mijangos was hardly Aztec, there is no doubt that he drew heavily on indigenous tradition as well as on the European. The form of the Mirror, moral dialogues between a father and son, more closely reflects the form of the huehuetlatolli which are the central texts of Nahuatl ethics and moral philosophy, than it does the dialogues of Plato. It would appear that some of Mijangos’ teachings may also depend on this indigenous tradition.


Sold. Hammer: $6,000.00; Price Realized: $7,350.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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