Puebla: Por la viuda de M. de Ortega [Manuela Cerezo], y por su original en la Oficina palafoxiana de dicha ciudad, 1776.
Quarto: 19.5 x 14.2 cm. , 32 pages. Collation: π1, ¶4, A-D4
SECOND EDITION (1st ed. 1766).
Bound in later vellum, remains of ties. Text fresh and crisp with two tiny, in-prick wormholes in the lower margin, touching a few letters.
Second edition of a catechism with Zapotec and Spanish text printed in double columns. The book's preliminaries are dated in Oaxaca in 1732. Medina discusses an alleged 1732 Oaxaca edition, but doubts its existence; no copies are presently known.
Printed by Manuela Cerezo (d. after 1753), the widow of the printer Miguel de Ortega y Bonilla. Cerezo inherited two Pueblan presses from her husband and purchased a third, which her son operated in Mexico City and was later transferred to Puebla. (See Gravier, “La misteriosa imprenta del Colegio del Espíritu Santo de la Compañía de Jesús” in “HISTORIA DE LA IMPRENTA Y LA TIPOGRAFÍA COLONIAL EN PUEBLA DE LOS ÁNGELES (1642-1821)”, Part III, p. 548)
“[The book] was authored by Leonardo Levanto, a Spanish priest in the Dominican order; however, like other Zapotec texts produced under the auspices of the Catholic church, it was likely prepared with the help of unnamed native speakers of Zapotec. Little is known about these speakers, what variety of Zapotec they spoke, or where they lived.
“Levanto’s Cathecismo is divided into three sections. First is the Cathecismo itself, a statement of Catholic doctrine, which includes lists of beliefs (such as the Ten Commandments) and prayers (such as the Our Father and the Hail Mary). This section is written almost entirely in Zapotec. The second section is the Explication, which explains the Catholic doctrine using a series of questions and answers; this section has a column of Spanish text on the left and Zapotec on the right. The third and final section of Levanto’s Cathecismo is the Mysterios, a series of fifteen songs describing the Mysteries of the Rosary. Levanto attributes authorship of these songs, intended to be sung at church services, to another Dominican priest, Jacinto Vilches. The Mysterios are written entirely in Zapotec, and they are the earliest documented example of Zapotec rhyming poetry.”(Lillehaugen et al, Digital edition of Fray Leonardo Levanto's 1766 Cathecismo de la lengua Zaapoteca, TICHA, a Digital text explorer for Colonial Zapotec, Haverford College)
The Zapotec Language:
“Zapotec is an extensive language family indigenous to southern Mexico, which belongs to the larger Otomanguean family. Today, there are over 50 different Zapotec languages (iso code zap) most of which are endangered. They are spoken primarily in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, by a total of approximately 425,000 people (INEGI 2010) within a much larger Zapotec ethnic community. Due to immigration, there are now Zapotec speakers in many other parts of Mexico and the United States. Dialectal divergence between Zapotec-speaking communities is extensive and complicated. Many varieties of Zapotec are mutually unintelligible with one another. The Zapotec language family is on par with the Romance language family in terms of time depth and diversity of member languages… During [the colonial period of Mexico (1521-1821)], hundreds of documents were written in Zapotec, including religious materials, last wills and testaments, deeds, and letters. Many of these documents were written by native speakers for use by native speakers, such as local administrative texts. Other texts were written to be used by Spanish speaking priests and were likely created in collaboration with Spanish speakers.”(ibid).
Medina, Puebla 956; Palau 137035; Sabin 40732