Vintage Scientific and Naturalist Illustration - Public domain - Printable - Downloadable - Free
June 14th, 2009
Categories: Blogging • Entertainment • Medieval, Mythology, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Tags: Card, Entertainment, Italian, Medieval
This is an excellent set of cards but I must take issue with some of these tags like “fortune telling” or “psychic” This tarot deck is not really a divination tarot deck. Someone should add “card games” or “playing card” tags because that’s what these tarot cards were really made for. Everyone who knows anything about tarot cards knows that tarot cards were originally created for card games which are still played in some European countries. Not all of tarot is connected with psychics and fortune telling. People also play games with tarot cards.
Thanks for taking the time to point this out Dave — interesting comments! These are called the “Visconti Tarot” from about 1440-1460, of Italian origin. Sorry for putting them with the “fortune telling” etc. — alas, until I get these organized under another category hopefully your comment will correct my inaccuracy.
Dave – saying the Tarot was created for gaming is a slightly naive statement. That they became used widely for gaming is indeed true, but the images of the 22 Trump cards have been acknowledged as containing occult virtue even in the first known printed reference to them.
The images are clearly derived from gnostic philosophies and to imagine that such clearly theosophical images were bundled together for the sake of a “game” is pretty preposterous.
That they suffered that fate isn’t open to debate. They did. But the Tarot is – to those with the slightest knowledge of the origins of the cards – clearly more than a game.
You might want to consider the obvious similarities between the trumps and the talsimanic pictures of the Picatrix before angrily dismissing their occult origins.
No. The Tarot were primarily a form of mnemonic mysticism which was bastardised into a card game and then centuries later reclaimed by occultists.
Fortune-telling is indeed a sorry degradation of their use. But their origins are far from those of a simple card game like Happy Families as you seem to suggest.
James, thank you for your obvious knowledge in this area. (!)
Did you see the ancient treatise on alchemy here?
Not sure what it all means, but it struck me as very “tarot” looking.
Swivelchair – Thanks for the pointer to the alchemical tract, which I feel does indeed work on the same principles of the Tarot – using pictorial symbolism to convey occult theory and information. There’s some great material on this site, I think I’m going to be taking my time in digesting it all! Great work.
Thanks James — amazing what the librarians have dusted off and put under the scanner — enjoy -
Hi Very nice set of cards. There seems to be one missing. The 3 of coins. Is this how you found the deck?
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