This is (slightly changed) from an older consideration, posted in January 2004:
http://tarotforum.net/showpost.php?p=21 ... stcount=35
in the thread: http://tarotforum.net/showthread.php?p= ... post211111
This is more or less not about Tarot, but I-Ching and Chess.
Chess, probably younger than I-Ching, mirrors the structure of I-Ching, as shown below.
If this is accidently so, or cause an inner logical relation between I-Ching and Chess or cause an historical relation of the kind, that Chess was constructed by somebody, who knew the I-Ching, can't be said.
It just is a fact. Chess mirrors I-Ching.
Chess uses a board with 64 fields, 8x8.
The I-Ching manifests itself with its 64 possibilities by the multiplication of 8 so-called trigrams with the same 8 trigrams, calling the first group "outer trigram" and the second "inner trigram".
Chess is played with 16 figures at each side. There are under these 6 different types: 1 King, 1 Queen, 2 Bishops, 2 Knights, 2 Rooks, 8 Pawns.
The I-Ching is constructed by 16 elements: 8 different trigrams on the "outer" or "upper position", and the same 8 different trigrams on the "inner" or "lower" position.
If we assume, that there is a relation between these 16 figures of Chess and these 16 trigrams of I-Ching, then there is a solution for this humble mathematical riddle:
1. One has to assume, that the "inner" or "lower" trigram presents the 8 pawns. This is also logical regarding the philosophic contents of both systems. The "pawns" are regarded in Chess as the "folk" and in I-Ching the inner trigram presents the "lower people".
2. Now one has to consider the 8 trigrams as equation to the 8 main figures. Chess has 5 types of figures and 8 figures, I-Ching has 8 trigrams, which are sortable in 5 groups.
Group 1: the youngest children
Group 2: The middle children
Group 3: the oldest children
Group 4: the mother
Group 5: the father
For information the mathematical sign of each trigrams, the Chinese name with translation and position in the family:
001 = Gen, mountain - youngest son
110 = Tui, lake - youngest daughter
010 = Kan, water - middle son
101 = Li, fire - middle daughter
100 = Dschen, thunder - oldest son
011 = Sun, wind - oldest daughter
000 = Kun, earth - mother
111 = Kien, heaven - father
3. And who is who in the Chess-system?
111: King, of course
000: Queen, of course
001, 110 = Bishops or Rooks, one can't decide it
010, 101 = Knights, can't be different
100, 011 = Rooks or Bishops, one can't decide it
Both systems follow their own way, Chess is a game and I-Ching is used for divination.
Chess, as one can observe it, follows in its rules simple principles, one could say archetypical principles (you cannot really find other sort of possible movements of the same "easy" rank):
King: can move in each direction one step
Queen: can move in each direction endless steps (as far as possible)
Bishops: Endless diagonals
Rooks: Endless in vertical and horizontal direction
Knight: Can reach just that near field, that all other figures can't reach.
Quite interesting one can observe by these rules, that Bishop's and Rooks are considered "somehow" complementary, and that Knights are special. The same could be said from the trigrams 010, 101 = water + fire (special) and also from 100, 011 and 001, 110 ("somehow" complementary).
What does it tell us about the observed situation of 14th/15th century, when Chess was a "loved" game, before Tarot was invented?
It tells us, that somebody who played Chess in this time could detect by meditating about the rules and features of Chess the mathematical basic of I-Ching.
Have we evidence, that somebody detected it? Unluckily not.
Are there ways, that somebody could have known the I-Ching by communication? Of course. For instance: The mongols were very near to us. Also: Marco Polo should have known the I-Ching. He might have told about it.
Have we evidence of any kind of communication, in which just this information was transported? Unluckily not.
Assuming, that they didn't know about it, we've a smaller relative of I-Ching and that's Geomantia. And Geomantia was known.
Our Western Geomantia knew 16 figures. Is there a mathematical way, that these 16 figures also are equatable to the 16 figures of Chess? Yes. It's this equation:
0011 Rook ?
1100 Rook ?
1001 Knight ?
0110 Knight ?
1010 Bishop ?
0101 Bishop ?
What does this tell us, when studying the situation of early Tarot, Trionfi and possible pre-Trionfi decks? It tells, that the possibility is there, that somebody with a little clever mind did know about just that, what I've shown above. It's really not that difficult to detect.
What do we know about Filippo Visconti?
1. He had a clever mind.
2. He had various books about Geomancy.
3. He had a love for chess.
4. Probably he invented Tarot-similar decks
5. Generally he was called an "inventor", although we don't really know, why.
6. He showed at least at one of his deck inventions a love for the 16 (16 gods in the Michelino deck), but probably in 2 (also in the Cary-Yale) of his decks.
Do we know, that the Chinese knew about the Geomantia-system? Yes, they used it as subsystem to interprete their hexagrams. It's called "nuclear trigrams" usually. Mathematically is is coded identicallý.
Western Geomantia is strongly connected to Western astrology, do we meet the same feature in this Chinese subsystem?
Not, as far I know. Western astrology strongly observed planets and the Chaldean row. This, as far my knowledge reaches, is not very dominant in the various different Chinese astrologies, that I know. Chinese astrologies have a love for simple counting, which in Western astrology also appears, but mostly in connection to the Chaldean row, which doesn't seem to have been a favoured system in China.