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CODEX LADRONES: A 307-page manuscript full of colored drawings, superstitions, norms, and descriptions of flora and fauna that is known today as the Boxer Codex. The Boxer Codex depicts the Tagalogs, Visayans, Zambals, Cagayanes or possibly Ibanags and Negritos of the Philippines in vivid colour. The technique of the paintings, as does the use of Chinese paper, ink, and paints, suggests that the unknown artist may have been Chinese

The twenty-month British occupation of Manila and Cavite from 1762-1764 saw a massive sacking of academic and historical materials that were brought back to the United Kingdom by the forces of Brigadier General William Draper. A huge percentage of that plunder came from the Augustinian library.

In the next century or so, the manuscript would end up in the private collection of the Earl of Ilchester. Due to the blitz bombing by the Germans of Britain in 1940, Holland House the main estate of the Earl suffered irreparable damages. He had to auction off his heirlooms to cover repairs. Professor Charles R. Boxer ended up buying the book that eventually carried his name.

The Boxer Codex is now with the Lilly Library of the University of Indiana. You may view a digital copy of it online.

Spain taking glory to the Philippines, By Juan Luna y Novicio: The painting, which is now in the collection of Museo Nacional del Prado. 1888. Oil on canvas

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