mikeh wrote: 08 Mar 2020, 04:12
I was happy to see that you support the idea that the Michelino/Marziano had the structure 4x15
The most common deck in the JvR description is 4x13, 3 court cards and 10 numbers. Most common court cards are King, Ober and Unter, Ober and Unter being commonly soldiers. JvR knows also as most spectacular deck a 4x15 deck, in which all number cards present professions, Court cards are Kings, Queens, Ober, Jungfrau, Unter.
Filippo Maria Visconti gets a deck (Michelino-deck), which probably has also 4x15 structure. It has 4 Kings and (probably 4x10=40) number cards and 16 trumps, which are given as 4 groups of 4 cards to the 4 suits. Beside Kings there are no other court cards noted. So there it is necessary to make the conclusion, that the Michelino deck is a 4x15-deck and NOT a deck with 4x11+16 structure, although the trumps.
This deck contains ...
1. Kings, which reign in their domain (their suit), but cannot trump in other suits.
2. Other court cards, which are mutated to trumps
3. Number cards with only small chances to win a trick.
4. This deck (1418-1425) is in time close to the Imperatori note with 8 cards (1423).
and some relation to the "8 Imperatori" decks. Up to now, I thought I was the only one who thought that (along with, although not in print, Pratesi). It would be great if JvR (Johannes von Rheinfelden) could be used in support of that. But he has decks with all sorts of suit-sizes. 4x15 is one of them, and not 4x11. But it wouldn't take much ingenuity to figure that 4x11 was also workable, plus a suit of 16. And his 4x15 has a different structure than the Michelino: 4 cards below King rather than 4 cards above King.
If the premise is German decks influenced Marziano, wouldn't actual decks be of more explanatory value than the speculations of JvR? At least one scholar questions whether JvR invented some of his variants to serve his allegory (see Detlef Hoffman,“Frühe Holzschnitt-Spielkarten: Von den Anfängen bis ins 16. Jahrhundert,” in Altdeutsche Spielkarten, 1500–1650
, 1993: 14). Isn't it more likely, after all, that Visconti had an actual German deck(s) and not JvR's treatise, which is not accounted for in his library inventory?
The first problem we encounter is that no surviving German luxury deck predates Marziano but there is no reason that one that Visconti might have owned matched the format of one of those dating up through the mid-century. So let's look at our hand-painted options up through 1450:
, c. 1430, "Upper Rhine"
52 cards, 13 card suits
Suits: Falcons, Ducks, Hounds, Stags
Court cards: King. Upper Knave, Lower Knave
Pips: Banner (10), 9-1.
Ambras Courtly Hunt
, c. 1440-45, Basel (where JvR was published, although he hailed from just north of there in Freiburg im Breisgau)
56 cards: 14 card suits
Suits: Falcons, Herons, Hounds, Lures
Court cards: King, Queen, Upper Knave, Lower Knave
Pips: Banner (10), 9-1.
, c. 1450 "Upper Rhine"
48: 12 card suits
Suits: Arms of Germany, Bohemia, Hungary and France
Court cards: King and Queen
Pips: Master of Household (10), 9-1 are court functionaries down through "fool".
We have 12 to 14 card suits - none are 15.
The Courtly Household deck is an outlier due to its idiosyncrasies of nationalities for the suits and different functionaries for the pips instead of varying numbers of the same animal/lure, so can likely be ruled out as an influence. If Marziano had contemplated something non-standard why then does he merely mention the "orders"? He seems to imply something commonly known for court suit orders. If by commonly known that would have been the Italian standard of 14 card suits as we find in the Ambras Courtly Hunt deck - while atypical for German 13 suits, matched the Italian; the Italian 14 card suits was likely reason enough. Therefore it is unwarranted to suspect Marziano was up to something unusual for the number of cards per suit.
And what of the King and pips - does Marziano necessarily imply 1 + 10? In fact both the Stuttgart and Ambras feature a banner as the 10th card versus showing 10 of the themed animal/lures. In fact the Stuttgart shows the King holding a banner, demonstrating an iconographic connection between the "10" pip and the King....so its not much a stretch to see the 10th pip as a singular image - the king himself - especially if Marziano's model was a Stuttgart-type deck. Thus King-10th pip + nine pips of birds. Below, the 10-pip/banner and king, both for the suit of ducks (the king's duck is in the stream below):
One further suspicion that the deck in Visconti's possession was a Stuttgart-type deck is not only that it is the closest in time to Marziano's deck, but it pairs female court cards for two of the suits with male suits for the other two suits, perhaps the impetus for the later CY which has both genders among the courts - 3 males and 3 females. Furthermore, all of the CY queens - although the queen of cups is missing - have a lady-in-waiting crowding up to their laps just as the animals rear up the the laps of the queens in the Stuttgart. This unique feature of the Stuttgart may have lent the idea of matching men for women in the CY courts, as well as the odd lady-in-waiting pressed to the queen laps positioning:
In summary, there is a German precedent for four court cards, although entirely unnecessary to explain Marziano's choice, since there is no reason for that specific influence as proposes a fourfold arrangement; four court cards (of gods) in each suit just follows the emphasis on four (and Italian decks had four court cards). Marziano does not suggest he is doing anything unusual in the number of suits either, especially if the template card deck featured a banner as the 10th pip and then 9-1 animals, then there would have been a temptation to replicate that. The king with banner of the Stuttgart deck taking the place of the 10th pip-banner spot would be iconographically unsurprising, and thus the king in lieu of the 10th pip in Marziano's deck (each king undoubtedly featured his bird somewhere, so a clear option would have been the king holding a banner with a eagle, turtledove, dove or, phoenix). At all events, Marziano cleared out the normal court persons for his sexdecim heroum
split up among the four suits - so to have a king in an intermediary realm outside the normal court made no sense; it had to be moved to the pips. All of this points towards 14 card suits - not 15, with the king bounced from the court cards as the highest one. The hypothetical Stuttgart influence on the CY - three female court cards in each suit - is neither here nor there in regard to Marziano, but points to such a deck in possession of Visconti. The Stuttgart use of birds for two of the suits also would have suggested that motif for Marziano, which he uses for all four suits.