The first book to feature Burmese type

The first book to feature Burmese type

[Melchiorre Carpani]. Alphabetum Barmanorum seu regni avensis. Editio altera emendatior.

 

Rome, Propaganda Fide, 1787. 8vo (18 x 11,5 cm). XVI, 64 pp. With one folding engraved plate. Each page within a border of typographical ornaments.

 

Contemporary block-printed wrappers. Spine gone, dog-eared, (faint) waterstain in lower half of the leaves.

 

Second, revised edition (first 1776) of the first book to feature Burmese type.

 

The Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide was established in the 17th century to spread catholicism in non-catholic countries, most notably in Asia. To that end a printed press was established for which many oriental types were produced.

 

The present work was written by Barnabite missionary to Burma (Myanmar) Melchior Carpani (this edition revised by Cajetanus Mantegatius), with an introduction by the editor Johannes Christopher Amaduzzi.

 

"The best period of this office was during the last half of the eighteenth century under the directorship of Ruggeri and Amaduzzi. Bodoni received his early training from Ruggeri, cut some of the types for this office, and always retained an attachment for it. Under Ruggeri's successor, Amaduzzi, the establishment had fonts for forty four languages. Specimens of these, accompanied by learned tractates on their composition — generally found nowadays bound together — are important documents in the history of the founding and use of "exotic" fonts" (Updike).

 

Cf. Updike, Printing Types I, pp. 181-184.

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