Bolognese sequence

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Re: Bolognese sequence / Holy Cow "22"

Postby Ross G. R. Caldwell on 06 Jan 2010, 10:56

Huck wrote:
It's not "50/50" because the rule of incompleteness makes it much more likely that the PMB is incomplete as well (as it factually is, in the suits).


There is no rule of incompleteness. And some statements about incomplete trionfi sets just depend on possible insecure and careless evaluations.


The security tends to the side of lost cards - this should apply as much to trumps as to suit cards. It is not careless - it just observes that in %100 of surviving decks which include some standard trumps, cards are missing. The Charles VI has lost all but one of its suited cards - it is logical to think some of the trumps are missing too. As if to demonstrate the correctness of the assumption, the person who numbered the trumps had the whole set in front of him.

From the maybe 30 complete or incomplete decks, which we have from 15th century from the German/Flemish background, we have a good portion of 20-25% which might be called complete or nearly complete. Why we should assume by this statistic, that all surviving cards of Italian decks are incomplete?


Because it is an observable fact that all the Italian decks are incomplete. If you want to insist that some trump sets are complete, that is ignoring the fact that none come from a complete pack. That fact tends one to believe that what looks like standard trumps should have once formed a complete set as later known, just as the missing suit cards once formed part of a complete set of standard suited cards.

Your idea, that the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo trumps are originally a 4x14+22 deck and the Charles VI-deck also, is an assumption ... as you might call my different idea about them also an assumption.

That's assumption versus assumption ... where is the problem?


No problem, that's the nature of argument. When facts run out, interpretations based on premises, assumptions, must be made. My effort is to show that my assumption is based on stronger inferences than yours, so the assumptions aren't equal in that sense.

The account book of 1457 knew, that it had to pay for 2 times 70 cards. That's also a sort of complete description, which we know of. Though, we don't know the motifs.

You didn't say something about the condition, that we have complete decks in Germany. There is no "rule of incompleteness", that's nonsense. There is just a state, cards are either present or missing.


There is a rule of incompleteness in Italian 15th century decks - every deck, except for Sola Busca (if it is 15th century), is incomplete in one way or another. The Trumps should not be privileged, especially when two sets (Charles VI and Catania) in such a way that they imply the existence of the presumed missing cards. So the "assumption" that Charles VI was once a complete set is stronger than assuming it to be complete as 16.

The documentary sources, Steele Sermon and Boiardo, show either the complete standard set, or a structure like the standard with different subjects. Both have 22 trumps.

You call her Fama, but she is cognate to the Charles VI and Catania "Fama" too - so why not just "World"?

... this card has a flying trumpet, why call it world?


It has a "world" below her - land, sea and sky, cities, people doing various things. This is congnate with other 15th century World cards. It may be that the subject is supernal Fame in all of them. I have no problem identifying the subject as that; Minchiate even calls it "Trombe" - the Trumpet. Maybe the players of the Cary Yale called it that. But generally, it is World, and occupies that place in the sequence, before the Angel or Judgement.

One of the Guildhall cards is a "World", which otherwise would be seen as a Trionfi card from the Visconti-Sforza series. But it was found in Sevilla, with the others. So ... why shouldn't this be counted as Trionfi cards?


Could be, it is the same size (141-166mm), and looks the same background. The rest of the cards don't seem to have normal suit signs or be clearly trumps though, and the World is clearly derived from the VS World, so it is a later variation one way or another.

The Pseudo-Mantegna are NOT playing cards at all, and are not known to have been called "tarocchi" until the 18th century.

They were called "Roman triumphs" 1493 in Germany


I don't recall this quote, but I'll bet - they are referring to Mantegna's engravings of the Triumph of Julius Caesar.

I'm not sure, that Marcello wouldn't have done so.
Actually we discuss, when the standard Tarot did develop (or something strong similar with Trionfi cards). There is no security, that it existed at the begin of the Trionfi cards experiments, indeed we have with Michelino deck and Cary-Yale clear signs, that at the beginning were other forms and with the argumentation to the Bembo cards and the Cary-Yale further indications, that its first existence possibly happened late.


If a hunting deck can be called trionfi, as I note above, then it has effectively no meaning. We are just chasing a word, not a concept.

Since VS and Charles VI are contemporary, it is strong evidence that the whole standard sequence was known, and some trumps are missing from both sets.

It seems rather plausible, that the Siena deck of 1452 was made for the Emperor visit.


This is just a note by Zdekauer, he does not describe it. It is among things imported from Florence. There is no indication that it was for any specific occasion, nor is there a date.

I'll look it up.

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Re: Bolognese sequence / Holy Cow "22"

Postby Huck on 06 Jan 2010, 13:02

About the "rule of incompleteness" ... there is no rule.

There is the rule of time and this says, that anything will vanish, if you extend time. If you apply this to a specific ensemble of things, for instance playing cards, which once with complete, you will experience, that the number of complete ensembles will decrease with the extension usually - in rare cases a collector of things is able to put things, which have parted, together again. Or other ensembles become complete again by restauration, by replacement. But the general rule is, that anything will vanish. So far there is a rule ...

Nonetheless: If you put all extant cards from 15th century together, you will (for the current moment of extending time) see, that the number of complete decks is higher then it would be, if you assume a wild accidental distribution of the numbers like at a roulette-table. So "52 of 52" is more likely to appear
than 40/52 or 30/52 or 20/52 or 10/52. Also 1/52 has a higher than usual probability, also any other "small number, or 16/52, as many findings depend on sheets (and 16 cards are good to be found into an old book cover).

Well, the probability, that decks are complete, isn't that bad ...

And in the case of trump cards, it isn't secure, that the game always was played with 22 special cards, so a definition, which set is complete and which not, causes problems.

Your idea, that the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo trumps are originally a 4x14+22 deck and the Charles VI-deck also, is an assumption ... as you might call my different idea about them also an assumption.

That's assumption versus assumption ... where is the problem?


No problem, that's the nature of argument. When facts run out, interpretations based on premises, assumptions, must be made. My effort is to show that my assumption is based on stronger inferences than yours, so the assumptions aren't equal in that sense.


In cases of "assumption versus assumption" assumptions are usually not equal. >Well, and it's your good right to show, that your assumption fits better with the otherwise known documents than mine.

There is the Michelino deck, 16 trumps, definitely.
There is the Minchiate, a construction with 40+1 special cards.
There is the Mantegna Tarocchi, complete, 50 engravings.
Ter are 8 Imperatori cards.
There is the 14-paintings-note at 1.1.1441.
There is a 70-cards-note in Ferrara 1457.
There is the fact, that 2 painter made the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo cards.
There is some elegance in the both groups of the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo Tarocchi.
There are these unusual cards in the Cary-Yale.
There is the feature, that the Charles VI cards with with a chess board presentation.

I don't think, that this are all arguments, you'll have to have to battle with, but for a start it's enough.

One of the Guildhall cards is a "World", which otherwise would be seen as a Trionfi card from the Visconti-Sforza series. But it was found in Sevilla, with the others. So ... why shouldn't this be counted as Trionfi cards?


Could be, it is the same size (141-166mm), and looks the same background. The rest of the cards don't seem to have normal suit signs or be clearly trumps though, and the World is clearly derived from the VS World, so it is a later variation one way or another.

The Goldschmidt cards have had a paper research in the 1950's, which gave them to mid 15th century. The Dolphin is very similar to the Visconti-Viper. The Ace of Cups is very similar to the VS cards ... you can't make this to an accidental similarity.



They were called "Roman triumphs" 1493 in Germany


I don't recall this quote, but I'll bet - they are referring to Mantegna's engravings of the Triumph of Julius Caesar.



The Danhausen-Wolgemut book project 1493-1496 Nurremberg, which wasn't completed, called the book project "Roman triumphs". They collected ca. 360 woodcuts for it, between them own remakes of the Mantegna Tarocchi series, from which about 50-60 survived. I would wish to know these pictures. One is here:

http://trionfi.com/0/m/10/

It seems rather plausible, that the Siena deck of 1452 was made for the Emperor visit.


This is just a note by Zdekauer, he does not describe it. It is among things imported from Florence. There is no indication that it was for any specific occasion, nor is there a date.

I'll look it up.

That would be fine ...
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Re: Bolognese sequence / Holy Cow "22"

Postby Ross G. R. Caldwell on 06 Jan 2010, 14:25

Huck wrote:
It seems rather plausible, that the Siena deck of 1452 was made for the Emperor visit.

This is just a note by Zdekauer, he does not describe it. It is among things imported from Florence. There is no indication that it was for any specific occasion, nor is there a date.

I'll look it up.


That would be fine ...


Here it is -
Zdekauer ("Sull' organizzazione pubblica del giuoco in Italia nel medio evo", Giornale degli Economisti, V,
1892, p. 40-80 as reprinted in L. Zdekauer, Il gioco d'azzardo nel Medioevo
italiano
. Florence, 1993):

Le carte o triomphi da giocare pagano in Siena nel 1452 per ogni paio il dazio enorme di soldi 20, vale a dire L. 1

((p. 128) quoting AS Siena, Statuto della Gabella, App. 23, f. 30.)

Dazio is a duty, but I don't know how I can tell if it is for import, export, or just the right to sell. So Florence is not necessarily implied. But since the "playing cards or triumphs" were taxed, it was an industry and not a single deck.

In the same paragraph he lists a few Florentine cardmakers -
ed oltre ai dadi ora vi troviamo anche le carte or naibi, che sino dalla fine del Trecento davano a vivere a tutt' un' arte, quella dei naibai (2). [Note (2):] Firenze, Archivio di Stato, Catasto d. 1427. S. Giov. Leon d'oro, Portata di Antonio di Luca. Fa i naibi. Sta 42 anni. Nato nel 1385. --- S. Spirito, Nicchio, del 1430. Portata di Antonio di Giovanni di Ser Francesco, naibaio. Sta 33 anni. Nato nel 1397. Dice: "Truovomi tante forme di legname (stampe) da naibi e da santi, e altre cose atte al mio mestiero". --- S. Giov. Leon d'oro, del 1446. Portata di Jacopo di Poggino, dipintore di naibi. Ha 48 anni. Nato nel 1398. --- e varï altri.


Rough translation: "... and besides dice now we also find cards or naibi, which from the end of the 1300s came to be an entirely separate arte, that of the naibai. 1427. Case of Antonio di Luca. Makes naibi. 42 years old, born in 1385. 1430. Antonio di Giovanni di Ser Francesco, naibmaker. 33 years old. Born in 1397. It says: Find of me (?) so many printing plates for cards and saints, and other things necessary for my profession. 1446. Jacopo di Poggino, card painter. 48 years old. Born in 1398. --- and various others."
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Re: Bolognese sequence / Holy Cow "22"

Postby Ross G. R. Caldwell on 06 Jan 2010, 15:02

Huck wrote:In cases of "assumption versus assumption" assumptions are usually not equal. >Well, and it's your good right to show, that your assumption fits better with the otherwise known documents than mine.

There is the Michelino deck, 16 trumps, definitely.


Not called trionfi by its inventor, and only later by analogy with standard trionfi. I.e., NOT an indication that "trionfi" could mean just about anything.

There is the Minchiate, a construction with 40+1 special cards.


Irrelevant, much later derivation of the standard, also not called trionfi.

There is the Mantegna Tarocchi, complete, 50 engravings.


Irrevlevant, not trionfi, not cards, and not by Mantegna.

Ter are 8 Imperatori cards.


No, there is a game called "VIII Imperatori", and it is named as such only once. It says nothing about "8 cards" in the deck.

There is the 14-paintings-note at 1.1.1441.


Irrelevant, unknown.

There is a 70-cards-note in Ferrara 1457.


Relevant but unresolved what meaning it has. No composition of the deck given.

There is the fact, that 2 painter made the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo cards.


True, but what conclusions you can draw from that are various. The consensus has been "replacement cards"; Dummett now believes "painted by two Bembos at the same time"; you say "added to the original 14 later."


There is some elegance in the both groups of the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo Tarocchi.


Not sure what you mean - that there is coherence in each set individually? I don't believe so - you mean that Temperance, Fortitude, Star, Moon, Sun and World form a coherent and self-contained set of Triumphs?

I guess Brambilla only had two elegant trumps then - Emperor and Wheel. The Emperor is being warned not to trust Fortune, who will trump him. I guess that is a coherent and sufficient message too.

There are these unusual cards in the Cary-Yale.


Only the Theological Virtues, which are a whole group. What is unusual about them? All of the rest of the Trumps are the same as the standard subjects.


There is the feature, that the Charles VI cards with with a chess board presentation.


Only if one accepts your interpretation, based on the premise that they are a complete set.

I don't think, that this are all arguments, you'll have to have to battle with, but for a start it's enough.


I can't see the relevance of most of these to point you are trying to make.

Look at the chart on p. 45 of Kaplan 2. Of the 15 decks he lists there, all of them but the last four (with one suit card each), have both trumps and suit cards, and all of them are incomplete. ALL of them have BOTH trumps and suit cards, and ALL of them are incomplete. This is what I'm talking about.

Add the Charles VI, Catania and Rothschild, and you also have both trumps and suit cards, and all three of these decks are also incomplete. This is the fact I am talking about, when I talk about incompleteness being a "rule".

"As a rule, 15th century Tarots are incomplete." This is the whole deck, not just taking the trumps in isolation.

The only exception to this rule is the Sola Busca, which has the 4x14+22 structure and completely non-standard imagery. In documentary sources or tarots, like Steele Sermon and Boiardo, there are 22 trumps, and Boiardo also has 4x14 suit cards.

So we have 14 incomplete Tarots which have both trumps and suit cards, which show standard imagery, and among which is one that has 3 extra virtues and 2 extra suit cards to each suit, but is otherwise standard. We have one, Sola Busca, that is complete, has the standard structure, but completely non-standard imagery.

That's 1 non-standard complete against 14 standard incomplete - demonstrably incomplete - just look at the chart. Cary-Yale's extra trumps match its extra suit cards in its character of expansion. The trumps are not the only part of the deck affected by this variation in numbering.
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Re: Bolognese sequence

Postby robert on 06 Jan 2010, 15:34

Here is a scan of the Kaplan chart showing the existing "Visconti" cards. Click to enlarge.

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Re: Bolognese sequence

Postby Ross G. R. Caldwell on 06 Jan 2010, 15:45

Thanks for taking the time to do that Robert, much appreciated!

The deck called "Lombardy" is suspicious - or at least indicative of something. It has all the trumps of the PMB, and then only two or three court cards per suit. Didn't bother to copy any pips. This alone makes me suspect it is a forgery (obviously before the deck was broken up) for sale (since court cards are the ones collectors like, besides trumps). I haven't even looked at it again yet to see how the art looks.
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Re: Bolognese sequence

Postby Ross G. R. Caldwell on 06 Jan 2010, 16:10

I should add, for those interested, that origin in Bologna is only my preferred theory. The only difficulty is its obscurity, which is why I think most people just can't understand it.

In second place is a Florentine origin, which opens up interpretative possibilities a little bit, and allows for a wider dating because it doesn't depend on a literal interpretation of two popes, although it is possible, I guess. Nevertheless, even with a Florentine invention, I think only Bolonga preserves the game in its pristine form. Given the changes between the Florentine painted cards and Rosenwald, and already between Rosenwald and the Strambotti, I think that the Florentine version of the game, even if originating there, quickly changed.

A more distant possibility is Milan, with the main difficulty being how it could have been invented there in the late 1430s as a courtly game, and then so quickly picked up and adapted by a Bolognese cardmaker, soon enough to be on sale in Ferrara in a presumably popular (woodcut) edition. That's only about 2 years from courtly invention to hitting the street. The only way out of this problem is to suggest an invention date further back in time (it can't be too far though), during which time Bologna encountered it and adapted it to woodcut. The difficulty in this view is that I tend to think Milanese nobility, the presumed home of the game in this scenario, wouldn't have found Bolonga congenial for most of the 1430s. I guess there is always the student route - students being mostly from the highest classes.

All of this is beside the iconographic differences, how one gets from Bolognese to Milanese, or Milanese to Bolognese, and which direction seems most easy and natural as a reinterpretation or substitution of the other. I think it's harder to get from the Milanese Chariot to the Bolognese Chariot, for example. There must have been an intermediary, or, more likely, a complete reinterpretation according to courtly taste. This was done the same way both in Ferrara and Milan - putting a young woman in a canopied Chariot. I suggest she represents the city, or the ruling family; she is like the Queen - always a girl on the verge of womanhood - of the local annual civic pageant in European cities.

The same goes for the figure on the World card, if the Florentine painted cards represent the original design and Bologna changed it. It seems harder for me to see the reasoning behind making the female on the Florentine World into the armored male of the Bolognese pattern, than vice-versa. The Bolognese World-figure immediately reminds one of the figure on the Chariot - there is a parallelism between the betrayed triumphator and the glorious one at the end. In the Florentine cards, there is no such parallelism - the figure on the Chariot is a triumphator, but the World figure is a Woman. This is a difficult interpretative issue, when arguing for one side or the other.
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Re: Bolognese sequence

Postby robert on 06 Jan 2010, 16:24

Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:Thanks for taking the time to do that Robert, much appreciated!

My pleasure, a small thing to contribute to the discussion. For me, the chart shows pretty clearly that the "standard" is that cards were lost. Not one of those decks is complete, and the Visconti Sforza is by far the most complete of the lot, so it its own way having that many cards is really the exception to the rule as well.

I've never agreed that the Visconti Sforza was originally a 5x14 deck, and the thought of the Charles VI also being considered one is new to me and, well, completely unbelievable. Both decks look to me just like the other decks, to be the remaining cards of what were once 22 trump decks.

But I am open to the idea that there was experimentation in "early" tarot development. The Cary-Yale can't be explained away, it is clearly not a standard deck. Something was going on there. That we also know about the 16 trump Michelino deck, with an assured early date, to me is further evidence. Add to this the reference to 70 card decks and I think there is enough evidence to show that the standard 22 wasn't the "only game in town".

So in a weird way.. I can buy the Bologna origin for the standard 22, and accept that there was also experimentation. I don't believe the Visconti Sforza or especially the Charles VI were anything but standard 22 trump decks from the very start. Whether a "combined effort" or replacement cards, the thought that the "16 Bembo cards" were once considered a complete group seems incredibly unlikely to me. I'm willing to consider that that the Cary-Yale might have been 16, but I am much more inclined to think it simply had "additional" cards... additional female pages and knights, and additional female virtues.

Of course, I usually feel over my head in these discussions, and I have nothing to offer to support my impressions other than that they make the most sense to me.
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Re: Bolognese sequence

Postby Ross G. R. Caldwell on 06 Jan 2010, 16:48

robert wrote:But I am open to the idea that there was experimentation in "early" tarot development. The Cary-Yale can't be explained away, it is clearly not a standard deck. Something was going on there. That we also know about the 16 trump Michelino deck, with an assured early date, to me is further evidence. Add to this the reference to 70 card decks and I think there is enough evidence to show that the standard 22 wasn't the "only game in town".


I agree with that Robert. I don't try to "explain away" the Cary Yale - I'm sorry it looks like that. But I do try to "explain" it - as a variation, by augmentation, of the standard series. Dummett originally saw it as the "original" Tarot, when he believed Tarot was invented in the Visconti court, still had Prudence (perhaps), and was invented even as early as 1425. He explained it as the Tarot from which the standard was later derived. It has to be explained, not explained away.

I agree with experimentation, but I don't see nearly as much as Huck. For me, the standard quickly established itself, and was adapted. This accounts for the vast majority of experiments. I can't think of any earlier experiment with permanent, extra trumps, though, than Marziano's design. And we cannot assume that anybody but intimates of Filippo Maria Visconti knew about it, and we also can't assume it was made into a game any more than one time - and when we don't know. So, it is obvious that its influence, if any at all, was very limited. It becomes more important in a Milan-invention scenario, since the idea of extra trumps was already present in the environment, if the inventor were not Filippo Maria Visconti himself (not my favorite scenario).

So in a weird way.. I can buy the Bologna origin for the standard 22, and accept that there was also experimentation.


I can't disagree with that - I just think that the experimentation was with the standard, rather than well before it in various ways.

I mean that I can't accept an incremental growth of the parts of the standard sequence, finally being fitted together into the "standard" at the end of the 15th century. I can accept a few experiments like a game of vices and virtues, or emperors, and they might have somehow inspired the Tarot inventor, but I cannot help but believe that the sequence of 22, in the Bolognese/A order and designs, represent a completely new triumphal concept, a specific allegory told in that form. If there were earlier experiments in Bologna and Florence - of which we have no evidence, direct or indirect, except for depending on how we interpret the game of Imperatori - they did not last long, were not mass-produced, did not become popular, etc.

Frankly, I don't see the need to postulate them. The set of trionfi makes sense by itself.

I don't believe the Visconti Sforza or especially the Charles VI were anything but standard 22 trump decks from the very start. Whether a "combined effort" or replacement cards, the thought that the "16 Bembo cards" were once considered a complete group seems incredibly unlikely to me. I'm willing to consider that that the Cary-Yale might have been 16, but I am much more inclined to think it simply had "additional" cards... additional female pages and knights, and additional female virtues.


Right - they added to the suits, so it is logical to think they added to the trumps as well.

Of course, I usually feel over my head in these discussions, and I have nothing to offer to support my impressions other than that they make the most sense to me.


Ummm... please participate, if only to adjudicate sometimes.

It is up to the debators to make the arguments, and the audience to judge. If you can't offer specific insights, you might ask questions; if not questions, then you can at least say which argument at the moment is more convincing, or less so. This helps just as much as active debating - silence doesn't really.

And I know you should be working on your essay, and me on something else as well...

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Re: Bolognese sequence

Postby robert on 06 Jan 2010, 17:24

Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
robert wrote:But I am open to the idea that there was experimentation in "early" tarot development. The Cary-Yale can't be explained away, it is clearly not a standard deck. Something was going on there. That we also know about the 16 trump Michelino deck, with an assured early date, to me is further evidence. Add to this the reference to 70 card decks and I think there is enough evidence to show that the standard 22 wasn't the "only game in town".


I agree with that Robert. I don't try to "explain away" the Cary Yale - I'm sorry it looks like that. But I do try to "explain" it - as a variation, by augmentation, of the standard series. Dummett originally saw it as the "original" Tarot, when he believed Tarot was invented in the Visconti court, still had Prudence (perhaps), and was invented even as early as 1425. He explained it as the Tarot from which the standard was later derived. It has to be explained, not explained away.

And I didn't mean that to sound so harsh, I just meant that like it or not, it is there, and as you say, it needs a decent explanation. I think Dummett makes a lot of sense, if you have the 6 virtues, the 7 makes sense as well, although it gets harder to understand how she could be "removed" if she was there once, she's obviously not part of the theological virtues. The style of the Cary Yale seems older to me, and I wouldn't be surprised to know that it was indeed the oldest existing tarot deck.

Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:I agree with experimentation, but I don't see nearly as much as Huck. For me, the standard quickly established itself, and was adapted. This accounts for the vast majority of experiments.

I think it likely that the 22 was adopted as standard much earlier than Huck seems to, I'm not sure if I think that there was experimentation first, and then the 22, or the other way around; but I do think the 22 was established by the 1440s, if not earlier.

Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
robert wrote:So in a weird way.. I can buy the Bologna origin for the standard 22, and accept that there was also experimentation.


I can't disagree with that - I just think that the experimentation was with the standard, rather than well before it in various ways.

I mean that I can't accept an incremental growth of the parts of the standard sequence, finally being fitted together into the "standard" at the end of the 15th century. I can accept a few experiments like a game of vices and virtues, or emperors, and they might have somehow inspired the Tarot inventor, but I cannot help but believe that the sequence of 22, in the Bolognese/A order and designs, represent a completely new triumphal concept, a specific allegory told in that form. If there were earlier experiments in Bologna and Florence - of which we have no evidence, direct or indirect, except for depending on how we interpret the game of Imperatori - they did not last long, were not mass-produced, did not become popular, etc.

Frankly, I don't see the need to postulate them. The set of trionfi makes sense by itself.

I'm just not sure. I see Petriarch's triumphs in the 22. I see the Virtues in the 22. And sometimes I think I see the Vices in the 22. I'm less convinced of the 22 making a complete and perfect story than others seem to be. It sometimes feels to me that the 22 were coddled out of different sets of images and "sort of" made a cohesive enough whole to make sense. I can't explain it. It might be that there was some experimentation of 14 card Virtues and Vices, and another of Petriarch's Triumphs, and another of The Emperors Game and someone put them together to create a new version.. the 22. Or maybe there were just more cards in the very first set, and they were skimmed down to 22 and became standard. Prudence continues to bother me. So... I don't know why... but not your Bologna sequence, nor Michael's Milan, nor the 5x14 set right with me. It still "feels" like we are missing something, that something isn't quite right, that puzzle pieces are being forced to fit together.

Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
robert wrote:I don't believe the Visconti Sforza or especially the Charles VI were anything but standard 22 trump decks from the very start. Whether a "combined effort" or replacement cards, the thought that the "16 Bembo cards" were once considered a complete group seems incredibly unlikely to me. I'm willing to consider that that the Cary-Yale might have been 16, but I am much more inclined to think it simply had "additional" cards... additional female pages and knights, and additional female virtues.


Right - they added to the suits, so it is logical to think they added to the trumps as well.

Of course, I usually feel over my head in these discussions, and I have nothing to offer to support my impressions other than that they make the most sense to me.


Ummm... please participate, if only to adjudicate sometimes.

It is up to the debators to make the arguments, and the audience to judge. If you can't offer specific insights, you might ask questions; if not questions, then you can at least say which argument at the moment is more convincing, or less so. This helps just as much as active debating - silence doesn't really.

And I know you should be working on your essay, and me on something else as well...

Ross

Thank you for that Ross. I am completely awed by the work that you all do, and feel unable to offer better explanations or any evidence to support or contradict your theories. So yes, I usually entertain myself with the iconographic comparisons and just sit back and enjoy watching you guys discuss it.

:popcorn

But you're right, participating by asking questions and expressing how you feel about the debate is an important part of it too. I'm usually too intimidated and overwhelmed, but I will try to risk looking foolish by asking foolish things and expressing how I see things more often, and I hope other "lurkers" will too.

Essay due on Monday and I'm still reading. Typical. At least this time I feel I have a grasp on the subject and that the scope is well enough defined that I'll be able to pull it off without as much desperation as the last one! English towns from the 12th to 14th centuries... and of course I'm focusing on my beloved Oxford. FUN! Merchant Gilds... wow. Looking at Wall Street I realise that some things just never change. :(|)
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robert
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Location: Oxford, England
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