Endangered archives blog

News about the projects saving vulnerable material from around the world

14 October 2013

New online collections - October 2013

We have been busy this month with six projects going up online EAP165, EAP023, EAP248, EAP526, EAP217 and EAP191. These have produced over 167,000 images which are now available to view on our website.

The first project is EAP165, this project rescued two photographic collections on glass plate negatives from Guatemala, dated from the 1890s to 1930s.

The Yas-Noriega collection is the product of two photographers. Kohei Yasu emigrated from Japan to Guatemala in 1877 where he converted to Catholicism and changed his name to Juan José de Jesús Yas. With his godson José Domingo Noriega they photographed portraits of families and individuals from all different classes and ethnic groups in Guatemala. Their photos also provide a record of local traditions and the landscape of the region at that time. In particular Juan José de Jesús Yas was known for his interest in photographing clergy and other scenes of Catholicism in Guatemala.

EAP165/1/10 Image 75

The Tomás Zanotti collection is dated from around the same period. Zanotti migrated from Italy to Guatemala in the 1890s; he also photographed portraits of families and individuals from all different classes and ethnic groups. The pictures were taken in his studio, in the subjects homes or doing activities of their choosing, these photographs show the social and cultural change occurring in the region at that time.

EAP165/2/21 Image 44

Both collections are currently held at the The Center for Mesoamerican Research (CIRMA). When they arrived at CIRMA many of the glass plate negatives were in poor condition. During the project the negatives were cleaned and packaged and are now kept in a special photographic storage area at CIRMA. The digital copies will allow greater access to these materials without causing further damage to the originals.

EAP023 and EAP248 were pilot and major projects which digitised Marathi manuscripts. Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language which is used predominately in the Indian state of Maharashtra. There is inscriptional evidence extending back to A.D. 1012 and literature beginning in the 13th century. The texts are mainly religious in their subject matter but they also give a great deal of evidence about everyday life in pre-modern India. Some relate to sciences such as medicine, astronomy, engineering, and horse breeding. They are great resources for intellectual, social and religious history.

000030EAP023/1/1/1 – Image 30

EAP023 focused on the collections held at the Marathi Manuscript Centre in Pune. EAP248 digitised collections in two other institutions, the Prajna Pathshala in Wai and the Anandashram in Pune.

EAP248/1/52 Image 4

EAP526 digitised the endangered monastic archive at May Wäyni, in Tigray, Ethiopia. The collection consists of 91 manuscripts; most were produced from the last two hundred years but are copies of much older texts.

The manuscripts contain material valuable for the study of Ethiopian and Eastern Christian monasticism, containing rare Christian literature, biblical and liturgical texts. The manuscripts show texts relating to the history of the monastic community and its foundation as well as historical documents relating to the history of Ethiopia and the church from the 15th to 20th century.

The old church of May Wäyni and its storage facility recently collapsed and the manuscripts had been stored in a primitive hut, lying on the floor or on rough benches. Types of damage included mould, ravages of mice, caterpillar holes, water damage, burning, and detached and torn folios. The project allowed the material to be cleaned, packaged and removed to improved storage conditions.

EAP526/1/41 Image 185

EAP217 digitised endangered archival material written in the south dialect of the indigenous Yi language in Yunnan, China. The project successfully digitised nearly 600 volumes of Yi manuscripts from the public collection in Kunming and private collections in Xinping, Yuanyang and Mengzi, dating from the 18th to the early 20th century.

The archives are important materials for research on the indigenous Yi people in Southwest China. The language has survived for six centuries but is now endangered. The archives cover a wide range of topics including calendars, epics, history, medicine, philosophy, ritual, geography, literature and music. This material written in the Yi language is not available in either Chinese or other languages.

EAP217/1/5 – Image 8

EAP191 digitised periodicals of French India that were published in Pondicherry between 1800 and 1923. These publications include fragile periodicals that were published in Pondicherry under the French colonial administration, reflecting the daily realities of colonial life in Pondicherry. Some material in this collection has not been placed online due to copyright restrictions, this material can be viewed in the British Library Reading Rooms.

EAP191/1/1/2 Image 5

Check back next month to see what else has been added!

You can also keep up to date with any new collections by joining our Facebook group.


The comments to this entry are closed.