Stefano Borgia, early patron of Indology

Allen W Thrasher athr at LOC.GOV
Fri Aug 10 20:32:50 UTC 2001

Until Sept. 16 there is a major exhibit in in the Museon Nazionale
Archeologico in Naples of the collections of Stefano Cardinal Borgia,
1731-1804, head of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith
(e.g. of the missions) , a major patron of "Oriental" studies in
general, and collector of works of art and books from all parts of the
globe.  It is accompanied by two very thorough and beautifully printed
books from Electa Napoli (Lire 70,000/Euro 36.15):

Nocca, Marco, ed.
Le quattor voci del mondo : arte, cultura e saperi nella collezione
di Stefano Borgia 1731-1804 : Giornate Internazionale di Studi,
Velletri Palazzo Comunale - Sala Tersicore, 130-14 Maggio 2000

Germano, Anna and Nocca, Marco, eds.
La collezione Borgia : curiosita' e tesori da ogni parte del mondo

The former is a symposium on Borgia's activities and collections, the
latter the catalog.

His collections eventually wound up divided between Naples (the
M.N.A. and the Capodimonte), the Vatican (Library and various of the
Museums), and the Congregation (and elsewhere?  I haven't gone through
the book yet).

There is also a room devoted to his collections at the Capodimonte.
I'm not sure if it's permanent or temporary.

Among those he sponsored was the Capuchin Indologist Paulinus a
Sancto Bartholomeo, prominent in early typography.

There is an article in the catalog on a Keralan Bhagavata manuscript
by Indology's own Raffaele Torella.

I missed this because it closed in Velletri just before I arrived in
Italy.  Upon coming to Naples purely for tourism I was joyfully
surprised to discover it had moved there, but when I went it was
closed for the day for a manifestazione by the staff.  I saw the one
room at Capodimonte but couldn't go back to the Museo Archeologico the
next day because I didn't have the heart to drag two teenage nephews
along, who were already getting worn down by a week of high culture in
90 degree plus heat Farenheit (high 30's Celsius).


Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D.

Senior Reference Librarian       101 Independence Ave., SE
Southern Asia Section               LJ-150
Asian Division                            Washington, DC 20540-4810
Library of Congress                     U.S.A.
tel. 202-707-3732                       fax 202-707-1724
Email: athr at

The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the
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