Re: Regarding colours

#12
Marcei wrote:[...] Also, there are some really quirky inconsistencies within single images where you can only conclude the presence of a cryptic message.
I'm not sure I agree with this, Marcei. There may be no cryptic message at all.

Take, as an example, the 'quirkiness' (I presume this would qualify) of the colour of the shoes on the Paris deck: one is yellow, the other red (and, for that matter, look at the colour combination used for the dog: its head beige, its body gray with a clear break line at this neck).

We can begin to interpret it according to various considerations: the motley tunic of fools and jugglers, for example; or the relative poor wealth of the Bateleur who may put his clothes together from a (again that word) motley remnants. And as for the dog, we can account for it 'symbolically' as signifying far more than simply a dog with patched fur.

These, however, need not be the main reason: simply that the images as presented are more easily completed with a variety of colours.

Of course, this does not mean that colours are never intentionally applied. For example, one would not expect (on a European as opposed to, for example, an Indian or Tibetan deck) dark green to be used for human skin-tone. Nor, for that matter, would we expect pink hair. But even in woodcut decks in which this may be used, rather than assuming symbolic careful intent, the constraints of production are as likely to have played a major part.

Again, this does not exclude reasons for colour usage (as I have already suggested by the use of pretty 'consistent' skin tones), but rather that such will be attempted within a context of other limitations, with likely far less symbolic 'intrusion' than we may often assume.
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association.tarotstudies.org

Re: Regarding colours

#13
Hi JMD,

Thank you for taking time to respond to my post.

There may, as you say, be no cryptic messages. What appears cryptic to us might have been easily understood at the time. And there really may be no sly sarcasm, no humor, no oblique references; these may be just the colorful images of a game with no hidden meanings at all. But if this is true, the Tarot is a very rare exception to every book, play, story, poem, song, painting etc. that has ever been conceived by the human mind. It is a mystery, indeed!

JM, you don't have to agree with me. That's fine. I am just saying that I see things in the images of these cards that tell me the colors are not chosen only for expediency with regard to production, nor just for decorative purposes, but also as an additional layer of communication. It is not hard for me to admit that I lack a full understanding of that layer of information, and I cannot simply discount it to keep things “neat.”

I was not referring to motley when I used the term “quirky.” I confess that I have not so carefully scrutinized the Paris deck as I might have, but since you have referenced those cards, let's talk about them for a minute. You mention the use of “pretty consistent skin-tones,” and yes, skin-tone is skin-tone in the western/European, Caucasian sense; but I find it interesting that, in this deck, many exposed arms with hands are skin-tone, while hands when the arms are covered, are usually shown white. Exception: the hands of LE PAPE, who has covered arms but flesh-tone hands with stigmata. Faces of people are almost always white even in LE CHARIOT where one figure is naked and flesh-tone except for the face. Exceptions to this “rule” are the naked figure on LE MOND who has a flesh-tone body and face, and cupid on LAMOVREVS. The seeming importance of a white face is emphasized in LESTOILLE where the side view of the man shows a small area of flesh-tone over the hair and ear that stops abruptly to leave a white face. I have not yet posted images on the Forum, but I will attempt to do so. I do find the dog face you mentioned on LEBATELEVR of interest. It may, as you have suggested, be explained by the need for color variety and balance. Buy there does seem to be a rule in this deck that people's hands and faces must be white, but animal faces and the humanoid faces of Cupid and the 4 winds in LEMOND (as well as the exception of the main figure in that card) may have flesh-tone or other colors.

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Now take a look at the Conver Marseilles early color version, Antichi Tarocchi Marsigliesi (Lo Scarabeo Antico). In this deck there are different rules: Hands are almost always flesh-tone no matter how small or isolated that patch of color. Exceptions: L'HERMITE and LA•FORCE, each have their left hand white and their right hand flesh-tone, and CAVALIER D'EPEE has his single visible hand white even though it abuts a delicate flesh-tone hilt on his sword! In this last instance it would have been much easier to cut the stencil to include the hand against the hilt to be flesh-tone like most other hands in this deck. Faces in this deck are fairly evenly divided, half white and half flesh-tone, but many of those that are white sit on a flesh-tone neck, this appears to be intentional.

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I won't take time here to examine and discuss other decks like the Rhenan, the Heron, etc. Each deck seems to have have rules of its own, but I am convinced that colors are thoughtfully and intentionally applied, at least in most cases. On this point, we can agree to disagree. Thanks so much for your patience.

PS. It's great to hear from you, JMD; but If you or anyone on this forum feels bored by what I write, please don't feel forced to respond. I will not be hurt. It's just fun to be here, and I think recent unorthodox probing turned up some very interesting information.

Thanks again,
Marcei

Re: Regarding colours

#14
* Hello mon frere JMD !
I was talking just only Tarot de Marseille.

- And only just regarding to Tarot de Marseille here are the Jean Dodal at the BNF :

http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/Visualiseur?D ... Fonds=noir

http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/Visualiseur?D ... Fonds=noir

http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/Visualiseur?D ... Fonds=noir

http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/Visualiseur?D ... Fonds=noir

http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/Visualiseur?D ... Fonds=noir

http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/Visualiseur?D ... Fonds=noir

http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/Visualiseur?D ... Fonds=noir

http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/Visualiseur?D ... Fonds=noir

http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/Visualiseur?D ... Fonds=noir

http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/Visualiseur?D ... Fonds=noir

http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/Visualiseur?D ... Fonds=noir

http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/Visualiseur?D ... Fonds=noir

http://images.bnf.fr/jsp/index.jsp?dest ... rcheSimple


à bientôt j'espere ...
The Universe is like a Mamushka.

Re: Regarding colours

#15
Hi Marcei,
Marcei wrote: I am convinced that colors are thoughtfully and intentionally applied, at least in most cases.
I am by no means ‘tired’ by your posts. I agree with you in that the colors were intentionally applied. In fact, there is no other possible hypothesis: it is unlikely that the colors were accidentally spilled or unconsciously applied by someone who wasn’t paying attention. The process of coloring these images was complicated and time-consuming enough for it to have happened randomly or unconsciously. Now, are you meaning something else? in which case I would love to know: what evidence do you have to sustain your opinion? It is there any coherent, all-comprehensive, meaning you can derive from the way these colors are used, beyond their illustrative purpose?

There is a very peculiar idea I see being pushed forward now and them in this forum: “There must be a secret in there because we don’t know it”, “I can’t see a pattern so, there must be one” or “that must be a code because I can’t decode it”. But I know that this is not what you are saying, so, please, share with me: are you seen any non-representational discernible pattern in these colors? and if not, why is that the mere-representational-use-of-color hypothesis is not persuasive to you?

Thanks in advance,


EE
What’s honeymoon salad? Lettuce alone
Don’t look now, mayonnaise is dressing!

Re: Regarding colours

#16
Black Devil - symoblises the sin of anger
Blue Devil - Symbolises the sin of pride
Brown Devil - Symbolises the sin of greed
Green Devil - Symbolises the sin of envy
Grey Devil - Symbolises the sin of sloth
Red Devil - Symoblises the sin of lust
Yellow Devil - Symbolises the sin of avarice

Devils in Art: Florence from the middle ages to the Renaissance Lorenzo Lorenzi (trans. Mark Roberts).
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: Regarding colours

#17
SteveM wrote:Black Devil - symoblises the sin of anger
Blue Devil - Symbolises the sin of pride
Brown Devil - Symbolises the sin of greed
Green Devil - Symbolises the sin of envy
Grey Devil - Symbolises the sin of sloth
Red Devil - Symoblises the sin of lust
Yellow Devil - Symbolises the sin of avarice

Devils in Art: Florence from the middle ages to the Renaissance Lorenzo Lorenzi (trans. Mark Roberts).
Excellent!

Thanks Steve.

So, what is the color message in, for example, Le Bateleur from the Jean Noblet? Can we read one message card by card? Should we place all the trump cycle together to get it? How does this works?


Thanks again,


EE
What’s honeymoon salad? Lettuce alone
Don’t look now, mayonnaise is dressing!

Re: Regarding colours

#18
EUGIM wrote: If blue is associated with wisdom or red with the devil ?
Any of the colours may be associated with a devil and reference a particular sin (see post above re: the colour of devil).
Conversely no doubt, each may be associated with an angel and a virtue.
EUGIM wrote:I keep in my mind the Umberto Eco mention regarding the yellow colour,and still asking me why the infamous,abominable nazi ideas did choose his colour precisely to condemned the jewish brothers with that humiliating yellow star
At various anti-semitic periods of history, Jews were often required to distinguish themselves in certain place at different times by a symbol, commonly yellow: in the list of demons you see that yellow was associated with avarice, a vice of which Jews were frequently charged not only through an association with usery, but through the actions of Judas who ‘valued the worth of Christ in a pair of Scales’ (thus in Christian zodiacs Judas in linked with Libra); yellow was known as the Judas colour, and representations of Judas frequently portray him dressed in yellow and it was thus associated not only as a symbol of avarice, but of betrayal.
EUGIM wrote: 1-In Gothic medieval art better said later Romanesque art,the colours had symbolism.
2-In the Renaissance art,contrary,the colours had an strongly tendency to be descriptive on a realist sense.
While this may be vaguely true in terms of general tendencies I don't think the use of symbolic, representational or otherwise ad hoc decorative use of colour is very useful as a dating devise, as examples of all three may be found in any age. The question is whether there is symbolic, representational or decorative use of colour in tarot; and there is a tendency to personify tarot and tarot card makers as if they were all one and answer yes, no maybe - but there are many packs, many card-makers; maybe some used colours symbolically, some representationaly, some decoratively, some without any particular scheme or thought on the matter at all; nothing one way or the other is proved by making generalisations about some abstract personification of 'card-makers' or 'the tarot'.
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: Regarding colours

#19
Hello all,

Any tarot deck, as any chapel in the world, any cathedral, any bible, book, coffee table or any finished work of design has a specific formal coherence. It can be linked or cross-referenced to other similar works of design belonging to its semantic category, and it can be cross referenced to other designs belonging to different semantic categories, but at some point we most see it as a separate unity if we want to really appreciate its full value.

If we were to establish any symbolic use of color in the tarot we would have to analyze deck by deck to see if any discernible pattern, built on top of a basic representational use for color, can be detected in any of them. Obviously, that will only show that such symbolic usage of color was present in that specific deck.

Now, the fact that there is, or it has been, a symbolic understanding of color in several times and ages along the history of human civilization could give us reasons to infer that such a symbolic use of color may have been applied to some tarots. But we can only infer that without having any actual evidence of it. A lot of people in Italy is called Genaro, and since the name has been very common for several centuries it would be safe to assume that there were people named Genaro living in Italy when the tarot came about. Now, besides Genaro we also have Giuseppe, Guido, Giulio and Gianni. That give us at least five common names starting with G. We could infer then that the tarot may have been invented by someone whose name started with the letter G. I can even see the title of the book: ‘The Tarot’s G-Spot’! Sadly, we have no evidence of this, this is only an inference, similar to the one we often like make about color and symbolism in the tarot or, for that matter, similar to the one we made when we say that, since people were doing divination at the time, the tarot must have been invented for divination purposes.

Back to color, the problem is that, in fact, the evidence suggest the opposite. No two decks share the same color scheme, and more important, we even find color changes and variations in different editions of the same deck. If we set the context in which these cards were printed, we can see why such inconsistencies appear. As mundane as that is, as non-exciting story as that is, those are the facts. Even if we assume that there was an original symbolic intention in the use of color in some tarots, a pattern we haven’t found, its unlikely survival suggests that such color symbolism wasn’t a relevant, or definitive attribute of the tarot. The decks we have at hand suggest that such color symbolism isn’t discernible because we can’t detect any clear pattern, other than colors being used with a naturalistic intention. By discernible I don’t mean understandable. We don’t have to understand how to read Russian, or Japanese to detect a pattern in the way Russian and Japanese people use written language. So, when we say “that is written in Russian” we aren’t inferring it because we know that other cultures in the world often use written language, but because we can detect clear patterns in the grouping of the pictograms they use. So, we can honestly and knowingly say: “That must be a language I don’t understand”.

If anybody actually sees a color language in the tarot, any tarot, please share.


Now, if we were to use a dictionary we would be able to decode these pictograms from Russian to English. We have several ‘color dictionaries’ available. First we would have to establish which dictionary to use: a Medieval one because the images have a Medieval origin? A Renaissance one because we see tarot emerging around 1400 and taking its shape later on? A 17th Century because we are focusing on a deck printed in that century? What evidence we have that a 17 Century printer was working with an early Renaissance color scheme? But let say we find the right dictionary and we are able to detect a color pattern that goes beyond mere representation. Now comes the real proof: can we make sense of color so we arrive at any insight about the tarot’s origin and purpose? Does that color message adds to the main narrative represented in the images? Because finding color messages we can apply in our tarot readings is useless as an historical argument.

If anybody has found a message of such historical importance, this is a private forum devoted to tarot history, so, feel confident your finding will be very appreciated, and safe, in here.

Or... that may be too much work. We can simply say that “The colors in the tarot has to have symbolic meaning because everything about the tarot has to be profound, after all, the august masters who carved these tarots were too intelligent, to deep in mind and spirit, to have overlooked color when their blessed hands touched these wooden plates”. But having ‘all in the tarot must be mysterious’ as starting point is not a sound researching standard. If anything, it is just a biased starting point and a preconceived notion that may prevent us from accepting evidence.


Best,


EE
What’s honeymoon salad? Lettuce alone
Don’t look now, mayonnaise is dressing!

Re: Regarding colours

#20
EnriqueEnriquez wrote:

Back to color, the problem is that, in fact, the evidence suggest the opposite. No two decks share the same color scheme, and more important, we even find color changes and variations in different editions of the same deck. If we set the context in which these cards were printed, we can see why such inconsistencies appear. As mundane as that is, as non-exciting story as that is, those are the facts. Even if we assume that there was an original symbolic intention in the use of color in some tarots, a pattern we haven’t found, its unlikely survival suggests that such color symbolism wasn’t a relevant, or definitive attribute of the tarot. The decks we have at hand suggest that such color symbolism isn’t discernible because we can’t detect any clear pattern, other than colors being used with a naturalistic intention. By discernible I don’t mean understandable. We don’t have to understand how to read Russian, or Japanese to detect a pattern in the way Russian and Japanese people use written language. So, when we say “that is written in Russian” we aren’t inferring it because we know that other cultures in the world often use written language, but because we can detect clear patterns in the grouping of the pictograms they use. So, we can honestly and knowingly say: “That must be a language I don’t understand”.



I believe that only we must talk about to the original ones and not to later copies, restorations or reconstructions since inevitably factors other people's to the original idea are added.
I think like Enrique who only we can perceive the meaning of the used colors of a naturalistic way.

Im very occupied lately, but whenever I can stroll by this brilliant site.

Greetings!

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