Trump number IIX - another card in the Tarochi Goes West series

Here is Hanged Man in Cary sheet, Viéville, and Noblet.
Cary sheet tarot; Hanged Man RH595.jpg
Cary sheet tarot; Hanged Man RH595.jpg (157.54 KiB) Viewed 452 times
Cary sheet :

VN Hanged.PNG
VN Hanged.PNG (671.11 KiB) Viewed 452 times
Jacques Viéville :
Jean Noblet :

Hanging upwards : Well first of all, Viéville has him upside down! But if we look carefully, it is only the Roman numeral XII, which supports that Viéville's man hangs in defiance of gravity. Turn the card upside down (or rather, right way up), and he hangs in the normal way, and the trump number has been put in a bit of blank space. It's just that the numeral is then backwards, IIX instead of XII. Getting the Roman numerals backwards is pervasive in woodblock printed cards, due to the fact that whatever is carved on the blocks gets switched right to left when the sheets are printed. The Rosenwald sheets have all the Roman numerals backwards. For confirmation, the tax stamp is at the bottom of that Viéville's card, at the man's head, like the tax stamps on every other card printed in France. If the card was originally read with the man's head up, not only is the stamp at the top where stamps were never placed, the royal stamp is upside down! The regie's stamp was put on with the royal crown on the bottom, upside down! I think that might count as treason, or at least as lèse-majesté, or in anyway it's against the law, besides being against the law of gravity.
treason tax stamp.jpg
treason tax stamp.jpg (100.23 KiB) Viewed 452 times
Upside down tax stamp, if Hanged Man is lighter than air.

Here is the Hanged Man of François Heri, the first to make Tarot de Marseille outside of France. He has the Roman numeral as IIX, backwards. I have turned the card over, to show it to you, compared to the way it is in the source website. So the photographer of this card, for the Schweizerisches Landesmuseum Zurich, photographed it upside down, and thus he got the writing upside down, the man hanging upwards, and the name at the top and the number at the bottom of the card, unlike every other card in the deck. All so he wouldn't have the numeral read IIX! François Chosson also gets the number as IIX, and so do the sons of Jean-François Tourcaty. Both were around 1736, the first two shops to make Tarot de Marseille in Marseille.

3 same shirts RW595.png
3 same shirts RW595.png (394.53 KiB) Viewed 452 times
François Heri : ... 96#-411796
François Chosson :
then, search on "Chosson", then look for "Marseille" among the results, ignoring any that say "Faksimile"
Tourcaty :

These cartiers were not copying Viéville's backwards XII, since they copied Noblet, not Viéville, and Noblet got it right. However, note the identical shirts. Even the hair color and tree coloring is the same, and Solothurn and Marseille marked the opposite edges of the expanding Noblet-pattern empire. (That is, the Tarot de Marseille empire, but that name does not make sense yet). They can't very well have copied from each other, not Marseille from Solothurn, so they must have had a common source, but it was not Noblet, because his shirt is different. It was not Viéville. Who could it be? It could be some Cartier X we don't know about, but if it is a known card maker, there are just two possibilities, Jean Dodal of Lyon or Pierre Madenié of Dijon. Here they are:
first gen copy.PNG
first gen copy.PNG (690.51 KiB) Viewed 452 times
Jean Dodal :
Pierre Madenié : well, I wish I could give you a link. I got the above image from a website that sells a repro deck. This may be an image of the repro card, but I hope maybe not,
Repro website : ... llery.html

And that gives us the answer: it was Madenié of Dijon, who was copied from Switzerland to the Mediterranean, down to the red shoes and the white striped codpiece. So the Swiss and Marseille copiers may have IIX because they copied Madenié's IIX. Did Madenié copy it from his source? Madenié copies Noblet, rather than Viéville, for the five trumps where they are completely different.

Although Madenié certainly copied Noblet, perhaps he had access to Viéville as well. He could have read Viéville correctly, hanging downward, and therefore read the number on Viéville's card as IIX. Perhaps he put IIX on his own card, because it was on Viéville's card. However, documents of the 1700s are full of Roman numerals. Any businessman would know that IIX was a mistake. Any printer would know how easily such mistakes happen. Madenié had Noblet's cards for sure: he wouldn't have copied Viéville's mistake rather than the correct version if he had both cards in front of him. Madenié got the number wrong, for the same reason everyone else does: it is such an easy thing to do, when carving the blocks.

How easy? In the Rosenwald sheets, every Roman numeral that can be backwards, is backwards. Then Strength and Justice are both numbered VIII (Actually, they are both numbered IIIV). Then the next few cards are mis-ordered compared to their own numbers and to any known A order, and then from Devil onward they are correctly ordered again, but he gives up on numbering the cards at all after card XII (actually IIX).

Dodal has IIX. With no one earlier than him he could have copied IIX from, he must also have gotten it wrong by straightforward error. Dodal himself was not copied, seemingly: Dodal's card is crude, and his spelling bad.

Impossible fingers: Cary sheet, Viéville, Noblet, and Dodal (and Vandenborre, but not Madenié) all have the poor fellow's fingers on either side of his head, which I don't think is possible, when your hands are tied behind your back. Madenié gets them in a more believable position behind his back, and everyone copies him from then on. (except the Belgians who were following Viéville rather than Noblet. Catelin Geofroy, and the Anonymous Parisian, also don't have the fingers. So fingers beside head is a Cary - Viéville - Noblet specialty, copied by Dodal, but not by Madenié.

So what can we conclude from the fingers by the ears of the Hanged Man, on the Cary sheet? Some have estimated the date of the Cary sheet as c.1500, and the place as Italy. If Cary sheet represents the only set of images in C-order Italy in 1500, then many impossible things happened:. To name just one, Viéville put an astronomer on his Star card, even though, if Cary sheet images were the only ones in C-order Italy, he never saw an astronomer on a card. He matched the image used elsewhere in Italy by coincidence. So if Cary sheet was from 1500 Italy at all, it was one of two sets of images active in C-order Italy at the same time. This is already sounding unlikely, but we have to assume further that both Viéville and Noblet had access to both sets of Italian images, and for each card each Parisian cartier picked which source to copy following a strange and unexplained pattern. To make the story make sense, the Cary sheet printer, and Noblet, and Viéville, need to be closer in time and distance, passing ideas back and forth, rather than all the copying going one way. That is, the Cary sheet is 17th Century, and French, most likely Parisian. The Cary sheet printer was a third Paris twin. (This also explains why Geofroy and the AP don't have Cary sheet images; the sheet was after them, not before). This is a hypothesis that we can test further, as we consider each card in turn. (Although maybe flying to New Haven and learning how to study watermarks would be easier).

Brussels and the copiers of Viéville. Here is Vandenborre, of Brussels:
Tarot of Vandenborre, Bruxelles - Hanged Man RH595.jpg
Tarot of Vandenborre, Bruxelles - Hanged Man RH595.jpg (209.43 KiB) Viewed 452 times
Vandenborre (1700s), Brussels ... 2&partId=1

Vandenborre and some other cartiers of Brussels and Liege (there was no Belgium) follow Viéville, for the five trumps Devil through Sun where Noblet and Viéville are so different, and here they have the Hanged Man hanging up, as Viéville seemingly does. Adam de Hautot of Rouen copied Viéville first, and it may be that all the Brussels cartiers copied Hautot, but I don't have a set of Hautot images, so I don't know which way his Hanged Man hangs. There's a discussion of the deck on this forum, here:
but certain images seem to have disappeared from those postings, and no one happens to mention which way the Hanged Man hangs. If you go to Issy-les-Moulineaux you can see them,supposedly. The discussion of Hautot in Tarot: jeu et magie neither shows a picture of Hanged Man nor says anything about that card (I think). ... checontact

Whether the Brussels cartiers saw Viéville directly or if they only match him through Hautot could be tested, but as I said I don't have the images. I will be surprised if Hautot read Viéville's card upside down, because a French cartier could not have failed to understand the significance of the tax stamp being at the top, and with the crown upside down. (If Hautot worked from sheets rather than cards, it would have been impossible to get the image upside down). If Hautot has him hanging downward, then Brussels copied Viéville directly, and it was them who chose the ridiculous upward hang, for the sake of making the IIX correct. Even a very poor image of Hautot's Hanged Man will answer the question, but I do not have one. Depaulis says of Hautot that he is "connu du" 1723-1748, and he dates Galler, one of several makers of decks like Vandenborre, as "activ" 1738-1760, so that is not conclusive. Besides Galler there are two more Brussels (or Liege) card makers, very like Vandenborre, with decks in the British Museum: Martin Dupont, and J B Dubois, but no further date information. All five decks, Rouen, Brussels, or Liege, have the Popess replaced by Captain Ercasse (a character from la commedia dell arte), and Pope by Bacchus. Since it is a little more plausible that Brussels copied Rouen than the other way around, that may argue that Hautot copied Viéville and everyone else copied Hautot.

The Temperley collection, Birmingham, may be "The Rosemary and David Temperley collection." Knowing what it is called does not mean I know where it is. David Temperley seems to be a private collector. He contributes to a discussion on Scottish cards here: ... edinburgh/
and is thanked by the curator of the collection at Yale: ... ying-cards
I did not confirm any connection with Birmingham.

As a note, while these Viéville-derived cards replace Popess and Pope with Ercasse and Bacchus, the Tarot de Besançon starts with the Noblet pattern (tarot de Marseille), and replaces Pope and Popess with Jupiter and Juno. In both cases we see part of the system of exporting both French cards, and French ideas, to the east (from Brussels to Turin), a large movement of regular playing cards of which tarot cards were only a small part.

Re: Trump number IIX - another card in the Tarochi Goes West series

sandyh wrote:
24 Nov 2018, 05:07
For confirmation, the tax stamp is at the bottom of that Viéville's card, at the man's head, like the tax stamps on every other card printed in France...

... I will be surprised if Hautot read Viéville's card upside down, because a French cartier could not have failed to understand the significance of the tax stamp being at the top, and with the crown upside down.
Hi Sandy - those are not tax stamps, they are BnF library stamps. Neither the Vieville nor the Noblet bear any tax stamps.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Trump number IIX - another card in the Tarochi Goes West series

To talk about the Hanged Man card in the west, I should have mentioned the hanged men of Geofroy and the AP:
CGAP.PNG (721.95 KiB) Viewed 432 times
Anonymous Parisien ;
Catelin Geofroy : Tor Gjerde's site is good,
but the images are of low resolution. I've put together a set of 600px images of the trumps here: ... 1557-lyon/
These came from various places, but many from :

The Visconti-Sforza Tarot Hanged Man is an image that could plausibly give rise to all later images:
VS cliip to post.PNG
VS cliip to post.PNG (327.29 KiB) Viewed 432 times
Visconti-Sforza Tarot 1450? Milan ... hanged-man

Geofroy's card is different than the VS card, in having a one-post gallows instead of a two-post one. Did Geofroy make that change, or did he get the one-post gallows from his own Italian source? Had this change already occurred in Italy before Geofroy? Since later copiers from Italy, such as Viéville, always have two posts, it is more likely that the single post gallows was Geofroy's innovation. Perhaps Geofroy had a description of the trumps, rather than images; that would explain why he has his man hanging from both legs. If a gallows has one post, it must have the diagonal brace that Geofroy puts in; otherwise the horizontal bar will surely fall. Geofroy shows a good understanding of engineering, and also of human anatomy, in his image.

The A.P. puts in a gallows that is like Geofroy's one-post gallows, plus a mirror image of it. But a gallows with two posts does not need diagonal braces. The AP's card also has the man's hands untied. The hanging man can easily grab one of the two posts, and then, with a little agility, pull himself up, bending at the waist, until he can grab one of the un-needed diagonal braces, and untie his foot. You definitely want to tie a man's hands, to hang him. The AP shows a poor understanding of the practicalities of hanging. The AP can't have copied his two-post diagonally braced gallows from anyone, because no one else would have devised such a bad one. Thus AP copied from Geofroy, although without understanding him; he puts in his two diagonal braces, because Geofroy had one diagonal brace, not realizing the with two posts the need for bracing has changed.

This this card supports the notion that the AP did not have an Italian source for his trumps, but learned from Geofroy. We will want to check if the other trumps tell the same story. AP's suit cards are the standard Italian suits, and he did not copy those from Geofroy, because Geofroy had Virgil Solis's animal suits. We will want to look carefully at the AP's suit cards, both number cards and court cards, in due course.

The two bags which some later Hanged Men have in Italy, are plausible developments from the VS Hanged Man who does not have them. I imagine they thought of Judas Iscariot, the paradigm suicide, and his money bag of silver. Even though the bags add weight and make his situation worse, he does not let go of them, because they are money bags. They do not seem to be tied on.

Calling this card the traitor, is also a plausible development. The VS Hanged Man might have been called traitor, or not, because even if he was not called traitor at first, that is a natural assumption to make. Since the card makers in the west did not call him traitor, that rather supports that he was not called that originally.

I would like to check what each poem or literary source calls this card. (Or rather, when I get to going through each source in turn, I will check what all the trumps are called, and put the answers in a table.)

Re: Trump number IIX - another card in the Tarochi Goes West series

sandyh wrote:
25 Nov 2018, 03:23
I wasn't sure; B.R could certainly stand for Bibliothèque royale. But weren't these cards only given to the library much later? Did they even put playing cards into libraries in ancient regime France? After there was no king, the national library stamp couldn't have been B.R. with a crown.

Several of the older decks, such as the Vieville, Noblet, so called "Charles VI", were part of the older library, the Bibliotheque du Roi (King's Library) - they were all (probably) from a collector whose name escapes me at the moment* - but has been discussed on this forum before. If you look at the "Charles VI" at the BnF you will see they bear the same library stamps.

Tax stamps when used were never applied to every card in a deck, just a single card, or not a card at all but the wrapper, depending upon the period and region - during some periods tax was regulated by the paper used, watermarked for taxed cards (meant for the domestic market) and 'free paper' for non-taxed (meant for export). There are no tax stamps on the Noblet or Vieville - I doubt you'll find a tax stamp on any of the BnF collection of tarot cards that was produced prior to c1798.

editd to add:

*François Roger de Gaignières - who sold his huge collection of manuscripts, prints and miscellaneous stuff such as playing cards to the King of France in 1714.

According the the BnF:

[Jeu de tarot à enseignes italiennes dit "tarot Noblet"]
[jeu de cartes, estampe]
Material description : 1 jeu de 78 cartes : gravure sur bois coloriée au pochoir ; 9,2 x 5,7 cm
Note : Technique de l'image : estampe. - gravure sur bois. - couleurs (épreuve coloriée)
Note : Coins carrés. - Dos tarotés à motifs hexagonaux avec croix de Malte. - Signature et adresse sur le deux de Coupes, monogramme "I. N." sur l'écusson du Chariot, autre mention d'adresse sur le deux de Deniers : "Iean Noblet Dm.t Av Favbovr St Germain"
Ces cartes proviennent probablement de la collection François-Roger de Gaignières
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

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