This outstanding book is a breathtaking collection of 38 tinted lithographed prints consisting of a map of the Sulu area and 17 marine and topographic landscapes plus 20 portraits of ethnographic representations of Moro Sulu life and customs such as their native gravemarkers and housing. Each plate is accompanied with a lengthy explanation.
Altogether, these portray a panorama of the scenes of the Spanish military expedition led by Governor-General José Malcampo (1874–1877) against the Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo Jamalul-Azam (r. 1862–1881), who was based in Jolo. After several bloody battles, Malcampo was able to occupy Sulu and establish a garrison. Sultan JamalulAzam, however, proved that he was a wily international negotiator by leasing North Borneo to the British and negotiating a peace treaty with the Spaniards on 22 July 1878. It represented the last peace treaty between Spain and the Sultanate, which made the latter a protectorate of the former while at the same guaranteeing autonomy to the Sultan in both issues of internal administration and the collection of port duties. For Malcampo’s successful taking of Jolo, he was given the title of Conde de Joló and subsequently Vizconde de Mindanao.
Thus, this exceptional and exceedingly rare book is a testimony of those pivotal times : The opening up of Sulu to Spain, for the first time in history. The Sultanate became a protectorate of Spain, who in turn relinquished it to theAmericans in 1899; and eventually, a part of the Philippines’ sovereign territory. (Furthermore, the folio features all the lithographs and is in excellent condition.)
The láminas (plates) were illustrated by long-time coproprietor and director of Diario de Manila, the longestlived daily periodical of Manila. Previous to this, Giraudier, a French-born Catalan, had been associated with the pioneering bimonthly graphic journal, Ilustración Filipina (1859), where he worked in tandem with the famed HongKong based English artist C.W. Andrews. As such, Giraudier was considered one of the early pioneers of the art of fine illustration for lithography. The bibliographer Wenceslao Retana considered Giraudier “a serious and conservative person from the old Spanish school and a patriotic Spaniard. He did not write too much, and when what he wrote filled only half a column, which he signed with this significant nickname at the foot, Canta Claro.”
This album was especially commissioned by the governorgeneral who imbricated Giraudier in his troops to produce the finest illustrated book of 19th century book of Spanish Philippine military and ethnographic expeditions. The printer J.M. Mateu was one of the best Spanish lithographers of this genre during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
- Edited by Lisa Guerrero Nakpil