Re: Tarot was originally based on the Roman Catholic religion.

#31
Atlantean wrote:... nobody has yet been able to explain to me the presence of a Popesse and an Empress in the sequence of trumps.
There were essentially two estates of women in 15th century Italy, at least among the nobility; as a bride of God or a bride of Man. Any reasonable sized city may have 50+ convents and 1000's of nuns, some of them placed in nunneries from 7 years of age, many as family affairs with aunts, sisters, cousins and nieces all from the same noble families; mostly to do with the social consequences of the dowry system than vocation (nuns with a vocation occasionaly dressed up as men and took themselves of to monasteries where they could practive their vocation more seriously as 'men' - we know this from records of ecclesiastical trials in reference to woman who were caught, we may imagine for each caught there were several that were not). All, nonetheless, under the auspices of the Catholic church.

Usually feminine figures however were used allegorically in the portrayal of abstractions such as your examples of virtues # or of church and state for another example...
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: Tarot was originally based on the Roman Catholic religion.

#32
Atlantean wrote:Yep, yep - Catholic alright. And yet... nobody has yet been able to explain to me the presence of a Popesse and an Empress in the sequence of trumps. These hardly fit Catholic (or indeed, Protestant) hierarchies. Women were used for representations of virtues (and sometimes, vices), for abstractions such as stars and moons, but their position in society circa 1440 was pretty much tied to that of men. What's the point of representing a Popesse, who didn't exist and would have been seen as an aberation far worse than a Bagatto? What's the point of representing the wife of the Emperor? Unless these two figures have roles to play. And in the Catholic scheme of things - what are their roles? The Empress isn't even represented pregnant, which might justify her presence (as mother of the heir).

I know some people think the Popesse is a man in drag (you know who you are), but I don't, and I'm not convinced by the argument. The Empress is certainly not.

So - inspired by Catholicism, no doubt (and not surprising) - but not a Catholic piece of work, by a mile.

Most likely the figures represent Church and State, which were commonly represented by female figures.



Image



Even their position in the sequence, both of them together, side by side strongly suggests as much.


Image



When we view the Papesse/Empress as being more than just positions in the social hierarchy, like in a Dance of Death, a second level of meaning becomes possible, as all six of the social stations become the principles they represent.



Image
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

Re: Tarot was originally based on the Roman Catholic religion.

#35
debra wrote:If the Papess and Empress represent Church and State, then what need for a Pope and an Emperor? I mean, I see your point, RAH, but I suspect there's gender balancing going on here.

:)) I suspect that 15th century Italians gave as little consideration to "gender balance" as 21st century Italians do. The Mantegna Series certainly didn't feel the need for gender balance. The tarot trump allegory is a bit different from the Mantegna though.

I think the handy diagram above shows clearly what the first tier is saying -

To the sinister, that which defiles Christendom (Folly & Corruption). To the dexter, that which defends and uplifts Christendom (Nobility & Godliness). The 'evil' and the 'good' co-exist, without Folly & Corruption there is no need for authoritative bodies to protect the 'purity' of our 'ladies'; being the intellectual/spiritual body (II) and the physical/cultural body (III) of civilization.
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

Re: Tarot was originally based on the Roman Catholic religion.

#37
I know, I know. "Gender balancing" is perhaps not the right way to put it.

*smacks own self with giant anti-anachronism noodle*

What I'm trying to say is that RAH's scheme is one way to explain this. Is there another? Well, perhaps it's simply that most types of "people" come in "pairs." The trump "people" are Papess, Empress, Emperor, Pope, Lovers, Charioteer.

The Fool and Magician, Hermit and Hanged Man are loners.

Strength, Justice, Temperance and the figures on the Star, Moon, Sun and World are symbols.

The people who need company are the Emperor and the Pope. The lovers are already set, and the charioteer has his horses.

Re: Tarot was originally based on the Roman Catholic religion.

#38
debra wrote:I know, I know. "Gender balancing" is perhaps not the right way to put it.

*smacks own self with giant anti-anachronism noodle*
It is as good a way as any, and not necessarily anachronistic. There does appear to be some attempts at gender balancing ~ this is most clear among the court figures of the Cary Yale which appears to have had six court figures per suit, including female horse riders and pages.

Three translations in the first half of the 15th century Plato's Republic were made by people associated with the court of Milan, a text which controversially deals with the equality of woman. Boccaccio's On Famous Woman and Christine de Piza's response to it with City of Ladies were the start of a literary debate on the defence and praise of woman popular with Italian humanists of the 15th century. It is probably relevant also that the North Italian courts in particular were full of highly educated woman of accomplishment:

http://books.google.com/books?id=0yvSlE ... 4#PPA33,M1
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: Tarot was originally based on the Roman Catholic religion.

#39
Atlantean wrote:Women were used for representations of virtues (and sometimes, vices), for abstractions such as stars and moons
Hello Atlantean, welcome to Tarot History.The allegorical use of female images in XV / XVI century art is very frequent indeed (although obviously not exclusive). This fits perfectly well with the explanations already given in the previous replies by Steve and RAH. What I personally found most convincing is the visual comparison between the allegory of Faith painted by (an artist of the school of) Giotto in Padua (XIV century) and the Cary-Yale "Papesse" (XV century).
http://www.tarotpedia.com/wiki/images/f ... _faith.jpg

The two images share ALL the important features:
* the tiara (which was not yet triple at the time of Giotto)
* the nun dress
* the cross in the right hand (the most important feature)
* the (sacred) text in the left hand

I first came to know of this impressive similarity from Ross Caldwell. Ross also provided a number of visual examples about the co-presence of allegories of Church/Religion/Faith and Royal Power (Potestas). If I remember correctly, also the examples presented by RAH where originally presented by Ross on Aeclectic Tarot Forum.But I don't remember from which books they where extracted.

If you want to go deeper into the subject, and likely find more answers to your questions, some reading suggestions have recently been provided by Michael J. Hurst and Ross. G. R. Caldwell:
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=242&start=10#p2899

Marco

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