Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#81
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:They were used as a model-book for artists when clients wanted such-and-such a subject depicted. This was their use, which strongly suggests that it was their purpose.
I thought they were a teaching aid or a childrens' text book. As an early example of high quality engraving, wouldn't they have served as a model for other artists regardless of their subject matter? That is, did Durer and others make copies because of their subject matter or their technique?

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#82
Jim Schulman wrote:
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:They were used as a model-book for artists when clients wanted such-and-such a subject depicted. This was their use, which strongly suggests that it was their purpose.
I thought they were a teaching aid or a childrens' text book. As an early example of high quality engraving, wouldn't they have served as a model for other artists regardless of their subject matter? That is, did Durer and others make copies because of their subject matter or their technique?
They weren't used as a teaching aid or a childrens' textbook. Where did you get that idea?
Image

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#83
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:I think you'll find that most people don't believe the 22 standard trumps tell a story in any of the sequences - they believe that all Tarots are corrupt. I mean historical ones of course, not occultist or modern ones.
The problem is that it's so easy to invent stories that fit a given series of images that no possible retrospective story, no matter how elegant, can serve as evidence of the maker's intent. Unless we find a written commentary from the 1430s, reconstructing the "original story" is a non-starter. Moreover, there is no guarantee there ever was a single story. It could have been a hierarchy, several stories, or some mix. This makes reconstructing an ur-tarot a modern form of Tarot appropriati, an enjoyable cultured exercise requiring a high level of historical knowledge to do well, but not really history as such.

Given these circumstances, it is even a leap to call the recorded sequences "corrupt." There is no way to recognize an uncorrupt sequence.

I was hoping one could strongly limit the set of possible source mages and stories by placing the origin of the trumps in a printing shop rather than a court, but after this discussion, even that seems like a non-starter.

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#84
Ah Finally.......THE LIGHT JUST GOT TURNED ON!
Ross said this.....
I think you'll find that most people don't believe the 22 standard trumps tell a story in any of the sequences - they believe that all Tarots are corrupt. I mean historical ones of course, not occultist or modern ones.
That is why I have been able to make stories about the cards- taking one lead card and building an idea around it.
That is why I can see Christian and non- Christian subjects and why I have been puzzled. That is why the emphasis changes when you look at what seems... Astrological for example- Like the Star or Moon and Sun which seems Roman emblamatic. Still it seems a Hierachy nevertheless.
If you have the photocopy of the Cary Yale Visconti (I guess you should be able to do this with any Historic deck) and keep in mind an earlier comment that maybe Art Historians might be what is needed to enlighten us about Tarot; but really it may be about this......
Take a goodly amount of the Trumps and spread them fanwise in your hand, (I took Twelve) and the left hand side has clear indications of what the cards are.
So my fanned hand was Fortitude/death/Emperor/Empress/Chariot/Lovers..........
Left to right I see Lion/Horsehead,deadpope/two male pages/two female attendents/Two white horses/ One female Bride?.......
Very clearly indicative of what the whole card is.
Now if you do it with the PMB you see a rising of the left hand side so if you fan the cards by the time you get to the higher cards the emblem is towards the top Like the Jug on 16. It makes me understand why vaious people will order the WOF half way through the sequence, even when they know nothing of Tarot. It looks like half way.
But then I just might be making another story from the cards...... :-s
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#85
Thanks for the clarification, Lorredan. And for the information about the geniuses, Huck.

Now I have a question I've been meaning to ask for a while, about the famous artisan in Bologna who was worried about his livelihood after Bernardino's bonfires. Iris Origo, in The world of San Bernardino, 1962, speaks of "the beautiful hand painted playing-cards, called tarocchi, which were a specialty of their city." I would be very surprised if they were called tarocchi then, and I would be tempted to write this comment off as a confusion based on a later Life, except that she gives a specific reference, with a page number. Here is what she says (pp. 188f), which is followed by a footnote:
According to one of the most charming stories told about him by his first biographer, Barnabo da Siena, it was this design [meaning the YHS] that Fra Bernardino himself drew on a rough card for a poor little artisan of Bologna called Valesio, who had come to him in tears after the day on which the Bolognese, at the preacher's behest, had cast into a great bonfire, which they called 'the Devil's castle,' not only their gaming-boards and diece, but also the beautiful painted playing-cards, called tarocchi, which were a specialty of their city.
So Bernardino gives him the YHS to paint instead, and he "never lacked bread again," Origo paraphrases.

The footnote is to Barnabo da Siena, AASS, p. 743. AASS is "the Acta Sanctorum (these include the Lives of San Bernardino by Barnabo da Siena, Maffeo Veglio and Ludovico di Vicenza)." Barnabo's seems to be vol. iv, pp. 739-746.

Dummett appears to have discussed something very much like this statement that she is quoting--dice, gaming boards, and naibi rather than tarocchi--but it is by a different author, and a different page, p. 257, and apparently vol. v (I am using the discussion of Dummett by Vitali at http://www.associazioneletarot.it/page.aspx?id=227).

My question is, what does Barnabo actually say in vol. iv, p. 743? Anything pertaining to the subject of cards, in any city (e.g. Siena)? (I am allowing for te possibility that her reference might be of interest, even if her quotation of it is wrong. Vitali and Dummett don't seem to mention this page at all.)

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#86
I do not know if this helps your question.
There is a book on the Life of Saint Bernadino of Sienna compiled by Father Amadio Da Venezia for Monsignor Luigi Maria Curdella in 1826 in Italian.
It seems that in this book Bernado talks in Milan about Siena the 'grand public piazza' where prohibited gambling takes place- of Cards, Dice and Chessboards where there should be a fire (including illuminated music sheets) and it would be better to have significant cards with the name of the Father, and of the Son, etc on them.
My Italian is stretched, but I have not found in this manuscript any mention of Tarrochi or painted cards.
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#87
To add...the cards story seems apocropful (sp??) as the Catholic legend of the Saints explains why Saint Berndino is the Patron Saint of Gamblers Anon.
Why is Saint Bernardino of Sienna the patron of Debtors and Gambling addicts?
Why is Saint Bernardino of Sienna is the patron of Debtors and Gambling addicts? He established public loan societies. One day a man who had earned a good livelihood by carving dice and chessmen, came to him complaining that since gambling had gone out of fashion he could no longer subsist by his art. Whereupon the saint told him that if he could carve ivory tablets with the name of Jesus upon them, he would no doubt find many purchasers amongst the faithful followers of Christ. The man did so, and soon became wealthy by this new occupation..
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#88
No, Lorredan, that didn't answer my question. But it's interesting, in situating the story in Siena rather than Bologna. That is why I said "in any city". I may have confused things by speaking of "Barnabo" and then "Bernabo". I will change the spelling so that they are all "Barnabo". I assume that by "Bernardo" you meant "Bernadino" and not "Barnabo."

Ross wrote,
I think you'll find that most people don't believe the 22 standard trumps tell a story in any of the sequences - they believe that all Tarots are corrupt. I mean historical ones of course, not occultist or modern ones.

Added - by "most people" I mean most experts.
That seems to me to suggest that the 22 are a development out of something, or somethings, else, if by "don't tell a story" you mean "Don't have a single organizing principle" (other than the rules for trick-taking and scoring). My ur-tarot, a Cary-Yale with 6 Petrarchan triumphs, 7 virtues, an Emperor, an Empress, and a Wheel of Fortune, does tell a story, of individuals already with secular power ascending the ladder of virtue toward Glory and Eternity. You can even see the highest cards of Marziano's "game of the gods", Jupiter and Juno, starting out in this game as the lowest cards, Emperor and Empress, ascending a new ladder of virtues.

Educational games for women and children had stories and organizing principles, so as to teach something. Even chess was two armies fighting; ordinary cards had the same story more weakly, with their nobles in a logical hierarchy, followed by foot soldiers of various ranks. Hind mentions the inventory of the print-maker and print-seller Francesco Rosselli, after his son's death in 1525. Besides many of the engravings commonly attributed to him, it listed such games as "Game of the Seven Virtues," "Game of the Planets," and "Game of the Triumphs of Petrarch" (Early Italian Engravings p. 222). All good educational games with simple organizing principles. The game known in the previous century as "Triumphs" might have been organized like this last game at first, then adding the virtues. Adding some vices, because virtues triumphed over vices, gets you to 22. But at the same time the formula gets played with and disguised, because adults are involved, who don't want to play such insipid games any more.

Or some such thing. The point is not so much what the earlier games were, as that we could expect there to have been such. Less sectarian even than this, I hope everyone has read Franco's new essay theorizing about the experimental and standardized phases of tarot, at http://trionfi.com/trumps-trionfi-tarots.

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#89
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:They weren't used as a teaching aid or a childrens' textbook. Where did you get that idea?
Wikipedia wrote: ... These are neither playing cards nor Tarot cards for fortune-telling but were presumably educational tools for upper-class children, although no documentation of their use survives. Some sets bound up in book form at early dates survive (e.g. BNF, Paris, and Pavia), and all examples are printed on single sheets of thin paper. Examples in Cincinnati and New York have traces of hand-colouring in gold, which is very rare in prints.

... They remain important examples of Italian engraving, and are mostly owned by museums as part of their collections of old master prints. The original two sets are called the E-series and the S-series, of which the E-series is generally considered the older (since AM Hind made the case). It is on the whole the better engraved, and usually the better printed of the two. Differences between the two show the E-series Master was more aware of the literary sources for his images. Most images are reversed between the series. Their place and dates of creation are still debated, but Ferrara about 1465 (E-series) and 1470-5 (S-series) are considered most likely.
I don't now if you concern yourself with Wikipedia entries. But if this one is a howler, it might be worth posting an editing note.

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#90
hi Jim,

you are new here ... so I just inform you about some conditions. I try to keep it simple, in reality it's really complicated.

There are two alternative models of Tarot development, which are important for some of the speakers here.

Theory 1: assumes the existence of a Tarot similar Trionfi deck with 4x14+22-structure "very early". Very early means usually 1437-1440.
This is accepted "more or less" by Ross Caldwell, by Michael J. Hurst, by Robert Mealing

Theory 2: assumes the existence of a Tarot similar Trionfi deck "very late". As earliest example of the existence of 4x14+22 is accepted the Boiardo Tarocchi poem (internally dated 1487), but it isn't excluded, that earlier "something like this" existed before.
This is accepted more or less by MikeH (Micheal S. Howard) and myself.

Theory 1 isn't very complicated. It's just a more intensive reading as that, which was already stated by Michael Dummett, Thierry Depaulis and Decker in "Wicked Pack of Cards", who said, that "around 1450" Tarot game was settled to a standard.

Theory 2 in contrast is very complicated, as it really has to deal with the decks, which are taken as "from before 1487". It sees in the development decks with 14 trumps, decks with 16 trumps and decks with 20 trumps.

16 Trumps
the theory assumes a stronger relation to chess, cause Chess uses 16 figures.
*********

1. The Michelino deck (before 1425) has 16 trumps and totally 16 cards.The birds are suits. Interestingly this rather strange deck was later (in 1449) by a contemporary speaker addressed as a Ludus Triumphorum, which throws a strong doubt about the use of the word "Trionfi" or "Ludus Triumphorum". It contradicts the interpretation, that Trionfi cards were always similar to later Tarot cards.
http://trionfi.com/0/b/
2. The Cary-Yale deck (assumed to be possibly from 1441, but at least before 1447) has clearly 16 suit cards and remaining are 11 trumps, from which 4 (3 theological virtues + Fame) are not part of the usual Tarocchi system. The Theory 2 assumes, that the 11 cards are the fragment of an earlier 5x16-composition. A reconstruction attempt can identify 14 of 16 cards and that these would fit with a Chess idea.
See: http://a-tarot.eu/pdf/cy-jpg.jpg

3. The Charles VI (by Theory 2 assumed to be from Florence and from "around 1463") has 16 trumps and 1 court card. Theory 2 assumes, that the trumps are complete and not a fragment of a deck with 22 special cards. As in the case of the Cary-Yale the 16 trumps can be sorted to figures of the game of chess.
See: http://a-tarot.eu/pdf/ch-jpg.jpg

*************************************

14 Trumps
The theory assumes, that a deck with 5x15 structure took some influence
**************************

1. A document of 1.1.1441 in the Ferrarese account books reports a gift of 14 pictures (it's not clearly related, that these are playing cards) for Bianca Maria Visconti, daughter of Filppo Maria Visconti (well known for playing experiments). Bianca Maria is as a guest in Ferrara for an half year. One option iof the given tim is, that Bianca Maria might marry Leonello, heir of Ferrara (and not Francesco Sforza)
http://trionfi.com/0/e/00b/

Arguments:
a. The painter of the pictures is Jacopo Sagramoro, earlier already playing card painter, and later Trionfi card painter.
b. Leonello is a year later commissioner of Trionfi cards.
c. The first of January is traditionally a date for gambling, so also connected to playing cards
d. The pictures might have been a preparation for a future Trionfi deck, for instance for a marriage between Leonello and Bianca
e. The first Trionfi deck currently known appeared in September 1440, so just short before the scene o 1.1.1441
f. The court of Ferrara is in this time full of young persons (children of Signore Niccolo), and playing cards were often connected to rather young people
http://trionfi.com/0/d/

2. The Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo has for its extant 20 trumps 2 different painters. One painted 14 (and all the pip cards), and the other painted 6. This fact was earlier interpreter with loss and damage of some cards and with their replacement.
However, the composition of the two different groups follows some internal logic, and it's very unlikely, that this composition was generated by accident. So Theory 2 assumes, that the 6 cards were not replacements, but 6 added cards at a later time.
According this the original deck was 5x14 ... and this observation and its interpretation was later called "5x14-theory".
http://trionfi.com/0/f/11/

3. A document in Ferrara in 1457 speaks about the production of two Trionfi decks. The document notes, that the decks contain 70 cards ... which means, that this information contradicted the assumption, that these decks had 78 cards (which they should have had, if they were already similar to Tarot cards), but it is in harmony with the 5x14-theory.
It's the only document, which really tells us something about the number of the Trionfi cards. Well, maybe beside the Michelino deck, which speaks of 16 trumps. A "22" appears nowhere in the documents, but it's clear with the Boiardo Tarocchi poem, which in its style is very different from the usual Tarot.
http://trionfi.com/0/e/16/

**************************

20 trumps
Only known from later development
***************************

1. According the 5x14-theory the second painter added 6 cards. Some research led to the assumption, that this likely happened in the year 1465, at the opportunity of the wedding preparations and connected bride journey of Ippolita Sforza in May.

2. We have Minchiate documents in 1466, 1470/71 and 1477. In our opinion this indicates an expansion of an earlier order of the trumps and some changes in the game a short time before. If Minchiate had already at the begin of its development the state of 41 cards, is not clear.
http://trionfi.com/0/p/09/

3. There is a lot book of Lorenzo Spirito produced in 1482, which in his divination scheme uses a 20x20x20x20 structure (with connected pictures), which has some similarity of the structure of Minchiate, Possibly this lot book indicates, that the Minchiate had at least had reached 40 trumps.
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=442&hilit=lorenzo+spirito

4. There is a relative new idea from Franco Pratesi, which possibly might relate the Rosenwald Tarocchi to the early 1460s and to Minchiate. This is generally not accepted as very sure, but might be a possible explanatio. It considers the possibility of an early Minchiate with 96 cards.
http://trionfi.com/rosenwald-tarocchi-sheet

**************

I just summarized the much more complicated researches. I hope it helps you to have some orientation in the discussion.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

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