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New (Old) Webpage:

Posted: 12 Aug 2015, 18:31
by Huck
The owner of the new (old) webpage http:// is - as I've read - Joep van Loon.
It was called "new" in a note of Mary Greer at AT ... ... ost4400172
... but I see, now, that at least a part of it already appeared in 2011
Anyway, to me it was new. I overlooked it at the other place (or did I just forget about it?) and wrote the following ...


On his link-page he writes ...
Website of my dear friend Sherryl Smith, Tarot reader and Tarot historian
One of the best sites dealing with the history of Tarot. Extensive research has been done by the author of this site and many references are available. Many of the historical facts I give and some of the interpretations I propose (like a original structure of the Tarot consisting of 5 suits with 14 cards each), originates from these pages.
A forum where people can discuss about the history of Tarot. Not all contributions demonstrate great knowledge of Tarot history, but many of them are very informative or show original thinking.
Sherryll Smith had at her page adapted a good part of Franco Pratesi's recent researches. As not so many pages do so, her contributions are indeed very welcome.

Joep's preference for is understandable, when one reads his pages under the point Tarot History. For my slow internet connection, these points appeared late, so possibly one needs some patience to get them.

So I give some direct links:
Michellino deck ... 0deck.html
(well, I guess, the correct name is Michelino deck ... as I understand it, the presentation is just "in work"; he reduced the material in a plausible manner)

The Visconti di Modrone deck – 5 Suits of 16 cards ... drone.html
(he gives attention to the 3 girls in Ferrara at 1.1.1441; he thinks, that the deck had 5x16 cards)

The Visconti Sforza deck - 5 suits of 14 cards ... 0deck.html
(I quote him: "In the early years of 1450, the Visconti Sforza cards have been produced. Of the surviving cards of this deck, 6 Trump cards have different style and were realized later in the same Century. Are these 6 cards replacement or additional cards? As we will see in this section, the 14 earlier Trumps have a strong and complete structure where no card is missing.
In 1557 the account books of the court of Este mention the purchase of a complete Trionfi deck of 70 cards. For me this is the most convincing evidence that up to 1557 the structure of a Trionfi deck consisted of 5 suits, each with exactly 14 cards. "
There is more at the website, I don't agree with all and everything, but it's clear, that the small family of persons, who find something valuable in the 5x14-theory, has grown a little bit.

So welcome, Joep, perhaps we meet you here.


Just for the factual arguments for the 5x14-theory:

1. The statement of Jacopo Antonio Marcello is important, that he called the Michelino deck a "new ludus triumphorum", somehow fixing the possibility, that the game called "Trionfi" or "ludus triumphorum" or similar might have had not the otherwise expected usual Tarot structure 4x14+22.
The note appears in the letter translation of Ross Caldwell
"Now I was aware that the most distinguished, illustrious Prince of Milan had thought out a certain new and exquisite sort of triumphs, being, as he was of everything, at one time the keenest in the invention of all the greatest things."

2. A recent research of Franco Pratesi about the Bolognese document of 1477 gave the result, that the production price relation for normal cards (56 ?) to Trionfi cards (?) in this contract had been 4 : 5, generating the assumption, that the number of the cards in these Trionfi cards might have been 70, cause 56/70 = 4/5.
The article exists only in Italian language:

3. The Boiardo Tarocchi poem has Tarot structure (4x14 + 22). The date is not totally clear, earlier estimations ranged from 1461-1494.
My own research suggests January 1487 or the of Lucrezia d'Este with a son of Bentivoglio family (Lucrezia was an illegimate daughter of Ercole d'Este). A description of the wedding notes many poems which were made for the wedding. The highest trump addresses the figure of the old Roman Lucrezia.
The style of the poem uses virtuous women and men with great errors. This topic "women are better than men" appeared in the late 1480s at the Ferrarese court, following a strong action of Eleanore d'Aragon during a sickness of Ercole in the Ferrarese war. Before that time it's said, that women might have been similar good as men, but not better.
These both arguments seem to be deciding, well, at least in my opinion.


The articles, that you've read at, have often an older date (2003-2007). Meanwhile some progress has happened. Documents, which give information about the structure of the Trionfi decks, are rare. Only 3-4 give reason for the 5x14-theory (document of 1441, the two artists in the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo deck, document of 1457 and the new Bolognese research to 1477), but 3 documents point to 16 as the deciding number (16 trumps in the Michelino deck, 16 reconstructed trumps in the Cary-Yale and 16 trumps + 1 court-card, which are known as Charles VI). No document points to a 22 till the Boiardo Tarocchi poem.
7 documents to analyze are not much, we can't really exclude anything. There might have been just different models for some time.

The earlier summaries gave the result, that researchers mostly considered the origin of the Trionfi cards in Milan Ferrara or Bologna. However, nowadays, if one knows all current available documents from 1440-1465 one should conclude, that the most probable location of the origin is likely Florence. When we had 2003-2007 for the earlier period about 30-35 documents to consider, we have now more than 200. The advance happened mainly through the researches of Franco Pratesi (about 65 new documents) and a short publication of Arnold Esch about playing card imports to Rome (more than 100 new documents). If we earlier could suspect a market dominated by the nobility, nowadays we see, that mass market clearly had arrived in the early 1450s.


P. S.
I thought, that the webpage was new, but now I see, that it is older stuff. Naturally Joep couldn't know about Franco's Pratesi's advances in 2011.