Re: Are we seeking to clarify or obscure?

Perhaps what some are seeking to do is to provide a single answer to what is assumed to be a single riddle... whereas it could be that numerous 'riddles' overlay one the other as the deck moves from region to region in the hands of copyists that each have their own world-view and influences at odds with that which comes before them.

This is where, I would suggest, a wide variety of sources for both the single images as well as the sequence, and their uses in contemporary (and earlier) places, becomes useful to aid in solving the development and 'mutations' of tarot.

So let's again pick up one of Michael's early comments in this thread, viz:
Those who feel compelled to escape the actual provenance of the work, deconstruct the cycle, and focus their attentions on what the individual pieces meant in other contexts
I would suggest that this is quite legitimate and useful in solving the many riddles, both iconographic as well as historical, that tarot brings our way.

Certainly it is important to eventually be able to account for card sequence, but the lot may have various influences, from some that Michael suggests, to later influences that may (... I know which forum area I'm in...) even include, as an example, Mark Filipas's abecederium idea. After all, both the images of very early design (as in the hand painted Visconti-Sforza decks and cognates) and the possible sequence (and even total number of cards) is at variance with what becomes 'canonised' as what we now term the 'Marseille' (whether as Tarot de Marseille-I or dM-II).

AND these are quite distinct to whatever different influence may have been at play in decks such as the Vieville and anonymous Paris decks of the same period as the Tarot de Marseille.

...of course these last three examples are later by a couple of centuries to the 15th C. hand-painted northern Italian decks. Yet it is those that become 'canon', and not the hand-painted ones: it is, as example, Empress and Emperor, not individuals with ducal crowns of a local family.

Re: Are we seeking to clarify or obscure?

I am agree with Michael here.
There IS a sequence.
But not least is a fact that Tarot de Marseille is the consequence of a rework job.
French engravers frenchified the whole iconography so there many icongraphy elements absent on the italians decks.
Aside the symbolism that of course explain in each card the link between.
For example: What about the spoon stick ended at LE MAT ?
The Universe is like a Mamushka.

Re: Are we seeking to clarify or obscure?

As far as I know, there is no evidence that the French did anything to the Tarot de Marseille, except put French titles on the cards. I'm not saying that the Tarot de Marseille isn't French, but I'm not in the least convinced that it isn't just as likely, or more, to be Italian. Michael once referred to the Tarot de Marseille as the "Tarot de Milan", and, until someone provides some evidence to the contrary, I'd say that we still don't know for sure who "created the Tarot de Marseille".
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Are we seeking to clarify or obscure?

Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:The French Tarot de Marseille order is never attested in Italy, at least. Its earliest attestation is in the Catelin Geoffroy deck (1556). The family of C, or the Western order, is, of course, but strangely having the "Hermit" come before Fortune is not known there.
Good point Ross, thanks!
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

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