SteveM wrote:No one said it was a 'wholly' d"Este device - the problem is it was the device of members several families over time - the d'Este, Sforza and Medici for example - the fact that it wasn't 'wholly' the device of one family is not a red herring, but a legitimate source of confusion and point of contention - it was the d'Este who initially awarded the device to the father of AS
I only used "red herring" in regard to the hypothetical darkening of red-to-black, in regard to which I pointed out red on the card in question and yet again in another 'AS' card.
Regarding the device itself, I pointed to its use on a black background (a color otherwise only countenanced on the 'AS' king of swords), in association with the commemoration of a deceased court person. That it was for a d'Este seemingly complicates matters, but the textile in question was Sforzan/Milanese and the deceased by this point was regarded as the Duchess of Milan. The black background on the textile then is a Sforzan alteration; and why not the same practice followed in the cadet branch of the family in Pesaro? That the device was conferred by the d'Este on Alessandro still begs for an example of the d'Este showing it on a black background; at least with the Milanese textile we have a Sforzan example. If a d'Este example on a black background could be found then that provenance would be a perfectly reasonable proposal, say on the occasion of Borso's death in 1471. But if this deck were d'Este surely their main device would be shown, but perhaps that is lost on one of the missing cards.
Regarding the "constant idea that a deck can be or has to be dated to some special event", well, we have an unaccounted for aberration seen in neither the Sforzan or d'Este stemmi
- the black background - that a special event would hopefully explain. Chalking the deck up to the normal course of events explains nothing.
I don't have specific evidence that black shields were necessarily connected with death, but wearing black for mourning was standard, as it is today. On the flip side, gifting or accepting a gift with the prince's livery colors botched was unthinkable. The black had to have been intentional.
PS here is the device from Borso's bible - the background is vaguely gray, but not black as found on the flanking goldfinches or the black imperial eagles found on the d'Este primary stemma found throughout the bible:
...and the d'Este primary arms, quartered with the Aragonese, on the Knight of Swords from the Ercole I d'Este deck - theorized as a "special event" for the wedding of Ercole and Eleonora d'Aragona in 1473 well before I fell down the rabbit hole of tarot studies: