Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#71
Lorredan wrote, of my hypothesis
Wow! :-o That originator was sure running around collecting influences.
I don't think that the Petrarch Triumphs plus the 7 virtues is much in the way of influences to run around getting.

The other things I mentioned, except the Giotto vices, aren't necessarily influences on any cards, just erudite secondary interpretations--although one or another might have influenced a few particular cards in a few particular decks (I won't mention them because then people will start disputing me without reading my arguments). These later interpretations would have come after the period of cheaper production started, I don't know when, possibly as early as the 1470s or 1480s. NOT INFLUENCES ON THE ORIGINAL CARDS OR ANYTHING BEFORE C. 1470. And they are by no means self-evident, contra Yates; it's taken me about five years (and about 70,000 words) to work out what I think are plausible correlations between particular trumps and particular ancient texts popular then among humanists (for the Chaldean Oracles, from Proclus and Plethon, see http://tarotandchaldean.blogspot.com/; for Plutarch, Apuleius, and Diodorus, http://dionysisandtarot.blogspot.com/; for Kaballah, http://latinsefiroth.blogspot.com/). You don't have to read what I've written, but at least don't dismiss it out of hand.

Also, Lorredan, the luxury deck that is missing the tower and devil is the PMB, which was not a Visconti deck. It probably came after the cheaper decks started being made, i.e,. after 1442; either the cheaper decks didn't have those two cards, or (I think more likely) whoever made the PMB didn't want them. Until shown otherwise, the best hypothesis I see is that luxury decks of the type exemplified by the Cary-Yale and the Brera-Brambilla (but maybe not those particular physical pieces of paper, which might well be post-1442) probably came first. But luxury decks almost certainly continued to be made after the cheaper decks became available, e.g. the PMB clones.

Thanks for the link to Hadot, Jim. Now I have another question. Since you mentioned the "Mantegna", perhaps you know a medieval source for the three "genius" cards, Iliaco, Chronico, and Cosmico? What is the previous literature about them? Off-hand, all I can imagine is a Neoplatonic context, although even then I don't know where those particular terms are used. But perhaps you know something--or someone else does.

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#72
mikeh wrote:Since you mentioned the "Mantegna", perhaps you know a medieval source for the three "genius" cards, Iliaco, Chronico, and Cosmico? What is the previous literature about them? Off-hand, all I can imagine is a Neoplatonic context, although even then I don't know where those particular terms are used. But perhaps you know something--or someone else does.
There's an older discussion with some import from Michael J. Hurst. "Cosmico" and "Chronico" appeared as chosen pseudonyms in the Accademia Romana.
The names related to an older astronomical work of Sacrabosco, as Michael once (before or in 2005) reported.
Lazzarelli seems to have been involved in the Accademia Romana, at least since 1479 - probably following an important marriage between a member of the court of Urbino to a papal relative in 1478. Lazzarelli - likely - had his stay before 1478 in Urbino. Some members of the Accademia Romana are addressed as "Cosmico" and "Chronico" (as "pseudoyms" or "new names") in poems, which appeared 1462 - 1468 ... Cosmico and Chronico are figures in the Mantegna Tarocchi, going back to astrononomical concepts of Sacrobosco in 13th century.
(with thanks to Michael Hurst:
####
"c.1230 Paris, France
Iohannes de Sacrobosco (John Holywood) an English monk and a
contemporary
of St. Thomas Aquinas, published a textbook on astronomy, De Sphaera.
This
was a widely known and influential text on the subject for several
centuries, and included discussions of the three "poetic" forms of
celestial rising, Cosmic, Chronic, and Heliacal. These are represented
in
the "Mantegna" cosmograph by corresponding allegorical figures. They
were
used to fill out the fourth decade, being placed beneath the seven
Cardinal
Virtues. An online version of De Sphaera is available at
http://www.esotericarchives.com/solomon/sphere.htm.
(See John Shephard's _Cosmos in Miniature_, 52-57.)

Joannes de Sacrobosco
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08409b.htm

Johannes de Sacrobosco
http://www.hps.cam.ac.uk/starry/sacrobosco.html

end Michael Hurst)###

Although used by an old text, it seems, that the termini Chronico, Cosmico and Iliaco were seldom used. Their appearance as "pseudonyms" in the circle of the Accademia Romana should mean something. Lazzarelli is praised in his own work to the Christian calendar in 13 poems by 11 poets. Some of these 11 poets could be traced back to the Accademia Romana, so it's clear, that Lazzarelli was known and near to the Accademia.

from
http://tarotforum.net/showthread.php?p= ... post438510

*********************

The material in the web nowadays is much better:
Est igitur ortus et occasus signorum quo ad poetas triplex scilicet cosmicus: chronicus: et heliacus. Cosmicus enim ortus sive mundanus est quando signum vel stella supra horizontem ex parte orientis de die ascendit. Et licet in qualibet die artificiali sex signa sic oriantur: tamen antono-mastice signum
http://www.ghtc.usp.br/server/Sacrobosco-1478.htm

The expressions are cosmicus, chronicus and heliacus.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#73
mikeh wrote:Lorredan wrote, of my hypothesis
Wow! :-o That originator was sure running around collecting influences.
I don't think that the Petrarch Triumphs plus the 7 virtues is much in the way of influences to run around getting.
I am sorry...I was been facetious about the whole paragraph and in no way denigrating your study and certainly not dismissing it out of hand. It just read 'in a gush' of words to me.
Also, Lorredan, the luxury deck that is missing the tower and devil is the PMB, which was not a Visconti deck. It probably came after the cheaper decks started being made, i.e,. after 1442; either the cheaper decks didn't have those two cards, or (I think more likely) whoever made the PMB didn't want them. Until shown otherwise, the best hypothesis I see is that luxury decks of the type exemplified by the Cary-Yale and the Brera-Brambilla (but maybe not those particular physical pieces of paper, which might well be post-1442) probably came first. But luxury decks almost certainly continued to be made after the cheaper decks became available, e.g. the PMB clones.

Well I have always called the PMB Visconti- but I agree it is the Visconti -Sforza; I also agree that it was made after 1442. I think 1450-1455. I have always believed both Cary Yale + Visconti Sforza were Sforza decks. I am not sure about the Brera- Brambilla. I also agree they came after printed versions and the discard of those two cards made the deck have a different slant of meaning.
I think it most likely that Sforza had played with original deck (printed)and saw the propaganda possibilities of luxury sets, for advancing his dreams. He also had a good woman at his side. Finally.
Anyways- sorry about my off hand giggle.
~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#74
Huck wrote: If I see (for the 1440s) a few thousands traded decks and only a handful of them are Trionfi cards, the natural conclusion is, that I should assume, that the market for Trionfi cards is rather small in relation for the general market of playing cards. Your point with the "proverbial tip of the iceberg" seem to indicate, that you still hope for the "hidden great market" of Trionfi cards, which just didn't come to light by the recent research.

Well, we wait for the expected Esch report, and we will see, what numbers we get then.
The market for Triumph cards was always very small as a proportion of all playing cards, less than 1 percent, as we have guessed. The "hidden great market" surely existed, in relatively cheap cards; this is why none have survived from the very earliest time. The uniformity of subjects in the surviving luxury cards proves that these custom made cards were following a model. Since the game covered half of the Italian peninsula by the early 1450s, this model had to be easily available, which means it was standarized and popular.

There are no luxury cards from Bologna, and very few printed cards from their version of Tarocchi from the 16th and 17th centuries. Yet the game has been played there continuously, by a devoted core of players, since the 15th century. This demonstrates both the narrow meaning of "popularity" when it is used in speaking of Tarocchi, and the ephemerality of cheap playing cards.
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Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#75
By the way, Huck, before you ask "From where do you get the proof that there was a popular tarocchi" etc., the answer is - common sense.

We know that standard playing cards were made in Italy in the 15th century. Where are all the cards? Where are all the naibi and carte that prove what kind of cards they played with? They have disappeared, ephemeral, thrown away, disintegrated, destroyed, lost to history. We can only guess how many packs were made, and what they looked like - we assume common, standard cards were "Latin suited", because that's what Italians played with when we start finding surviving cards. Players are very conservative, they need to know exactly what they have in their hands. They don't like too much divergence from the normal designs, because corner indices and double-headedness hadn't been invented yet. They HAD to have standard enough designs to recognize the cards fairly quickly.

Tarot was a MUCH smaller part of the market, so we can't reasonably expect any common cards to have survived. But the players needed the same security in playing, so the the same conformity to a standard pattern to play well. This is the "common sense" I am referring to to.

The proof of the standard number and subjects of the Tarot trumps is the uniformity of the luxury cards' trumps. Of all of the thousands of possible subjects to choose for trump cards, the Cary Yale, Brambilla, PMB, Este, Charles VI, Catania, etc. etc., from Milan, Florence, and Ferrara, all preserve the same subjects. There is no chance that these subjects were randomly selected each time, turning up the same subjects for the trumps. Boiardo's poetic invention and the Sola Busca are not proof of variety, they are fantasy creations, unique, no different from Mitelli or the thousands of Tarots that appear nowadays. The standard design is the basis for all of them, they are not independent inventions.
Image

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#76
The market for Triumph cards was always very small as a proportion of all playing cards, less than 1 percent, as we have guessed.
Franco's numbers of the 1791 in Florence ...
http://trionfi.com/florence-cards-1791
... give the impression, as if Minchiate had a market part of 10%, the numbers of 1840 ...
http://trionfi.com/playing-cards-florence-1840
... give the impression of 1%, which might be due to a greater loss of the interest in this period, and at some time time in 20th century the business was totally dead.
The list of 1559, sale of a playing card shop, in Rome, give the impression, that the part of the market for Tarocchi was higher than 1%, I think, though I haven't analyzed it in detail.
The "hidden great market" surely existed, in relatively cheap cards; this is why none have survived from the very earliest time. The uniformity of subjects in the surviving luxury cards proves that the custom made cards were following a model. Since the game covered half of the Italian peninsula by the early 1450s, this model had to be easily available, which means it was standarized and popular.
Well, I don't see the "uniformity of subjects in the surviving luxury cards", if you don't speak just of similarity between some Sforza cards. Generally I perceive a lot of creativity fo the hand painted decks.
I've big problems with the sentence "Since the game covered half of the Italian peninsula by the early 1450s, this model had to be easily available, which means it was standarized and popular." I don't understand, how you think, that one could give such an optimistic estimation.
We've an observable peak in the silk dealer tables in these early years o the 1450s, but Florence seems to be a producer- and export-city of Trionfi cards. From the situation in Florence one - a very special city - one cannot conclude on the rest of Italy ("the half of the Italian peninsula"). And the silk dealers are very careful, when buying Trionfi decks, they never buy very big numbers. They don't act like somebody, who has a very big trust in this business. The import notice of Rome 1463 with "309 Triunfi decks" is of a very different dimension.
By the way, Huck, before you ask "From where do you get the proof that there was a popular tarocchi" etc., the answer is - common sense.
...
But the players needed the same security in playing, so the the same conformity to a standard pattern to play well. This is the "common sense" I am referring to to.
My common sense says something different. To this theme I wrote recently:
15th century and it's playing card deck productions were - as far we can see it - very creative. It's the childhood of card playing and one cannot compare it with later or modern card player behavior. Indeed it's true, that modern card players prefer cards, to which they are used to. But there's no guarantee, that this habit was already common in 15th century. Likely players were happy about the increasing quality of playing cards and enjoyed new motifs.
Ross again ...
The proof of the standard number and subjects of the Tarot trumps is the uniformity of the luxury cards' trumps.

Well, in my opinion even the number of cards was not clear in the so-called "uniformity", nor their row with numbers and also not the subjects.
Of all of the thousands of possible subjects to choose for trump cards, the Cary Yale, Brambilla, PMB, Este, Charles VI, Catania, etc. etc., from Milan, Florence, and Ferrara, all preserve the same subjects.

I don't see this uniformity, especially if I observe objects like Guildhall cards, Goldschmidt cards, Boiardo cards, Sola-Busca cards, Michelino deck, Cary-Yale-Tarocchi, Minchiate, Mantegna Tarocchi. Italian cards were quite creative, and something similar one can als observe in old German decks.
There is no chance that these subjects were randomly selected each time, turning up the same subjects for the trumps.
I don't now, what you want to say. I think, that the finally most popular deck included elements of earlier deck compositions.
Boiardo's poetic invention and the Sola Busca are not proof of variety, they are fantasy creations, unique, no different from Mitelli or the thousands of Tarots that appear nowadays. The standard design is the basis for all of them, they are not independent inventions.
Hm. How do you define variety? Naturally variations demand some fantasy and creativity.

Well, we've decks with 14 special cards, with 16 special cards and with 22 special cards and with 41 special cards and with 42 special cards and then we've games with normal decks, in which some of the normal cards are defined as trumps, sometimes 8, sometimes 11, sometimes 13, sometimes 24, sometimes 26 and many other numbers of cards, which just fulfilled by agreement of the players on specific rules the role of trumps. That all is not "variety"? But that all are fantasy creations, just the only one thing, this little small papers with 4x14+22-structure are NOT FANTASY and NOT CREATIVITY, but the famous STANDARD?
In my humble opinion, all these models inclusive that one, which you call standard, have demanded fantasy and creativity at their time of origin, and also their chosen motifs demanded fantasy and creativity. It's just painted paper.

You seem to say, that there was an early standard, and that early standard was that, what later is proven as a standard. Where's your evidence for this assumption for the earlier decks? Well, you and me know, that you've no evidence.

I say, there were variations, and when you ask me, where the evidence for the variations is, I can point to them. You and me know that.
Nonetheless I'm not in the position to exclude the possibility, that the "early standard = later standard" theory might be right. Perhaps this will never be possible. I can only say, that in my opinion it has not much chances to be true. And I hope, that we find more documents, which might clear the question.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#77
mikeh wrote: perhaps you know a medieval source for the three "genius" cards, Iliaco, Chronico, and Cosmico?
Their use in the Mantegna deck is odd if Sacrobosco is the only source. Sacrobosco remained the most common text on astronomy into the beginning of the 17th century. Bruno, for instance, still lectured on it even as he was propounding a heliocentric solar system set in an infinite universe. So the Sacrobosco reference is certainly one everyone seeing the cards would recognize. But what are poetic references to the ecliptic doing among the virtues? I am not aware of any classical or medieval psychology that makes psychological faculties out of the ability to locate oneself in in time and space. If that is their meaning in the Mantegna, it seems curiously modern.

On the other hand, the heavens seem to be quite spread out in the Mantegna deck. Ourania is among the muses, astronomy gets promoted out of the quadrivium and joins philosophy and theology as a higher science, so why not have some astronomical virtues as well?

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#78
Just a note of clarification for some recent posts which mention the so-called "Mantegna deck" -

these printed sheets are more properly known simply as the E-Series and the S-Series, they are not by Mantegna, and they are not cards. They were used as a model-book for artists when clients wanted such-and-such a subject depicted. This was their use, which strongly suggests that it was their purpose.
Image

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#79
[quote="Ross G. R. Caldwell" ... We know that standard playing cards were made in Italy in the 15th century. Where are all the cards? Where are all the naibi and carte that prove what kind of cards they played with? They have disappeared, ephemeral, thrown away, disintegrated, destroyed, lost to history. We can only guess how many packs were made, and what they looked like - we assume common, standard cards were "Latin suited", because that's what Italians played with when we start finding surviving cards. Players are very conservative, they need to know exactly what they have in their hands. They don't like too much divergence from the normal designs, because corner indices and double-headedness hadn't been invented yet. They HAD to have standard enough designs to recognize the cards fairly quickly.

Tarot was a MUCH smaller part of the market, so we can't reasonably expect any common cards to have survived. But the players needed the same security in playing, so the the same conformity to a standard pattern to play well. This is the "common sense" I am referring to to.

The proof of the standard number and subjects of the Tarot trumps is the uniformity of the luxury cards' trumps. Of all of the thousands of possible subjects to choose for trump cards, the Cary Yale, Brambilla, PMB, Este, Charles VI, Catania, etc. etc., from Milan, Florence, and Ferrara, all preserve the same subjects.[/quote]

This returns to my opening question. If popular decks come first, the images available to the card makers may have been far more limited than those available to luxury pack makers. Is there any sign of such a restriction, or any way to locate it?

The overwhelming subject matter of early woodblock prints is images of saints and bible scenes. The grammar of much of many of the saint, virtue and royal images would be a single figure carrying identifying attributes -- suit signs and regalia for the court cards. Imperial, papal and virtue regalia for some of the trumps. But many of the trumps do not fit into this "single figure with Identifying objects" mold; but neither are they illustrations of bible or even common romance episodes. Scenes of a sumptuous marriage, or of astronomers moon and star gazing seem to be more at home in the luxury decks; if popular decks come first, how were these cards illustrated?

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

#80
Jim - I think if you look at the Rosenwald trumps, you can see a "bare essentials" Tarot. No astronomers on the Moon card, for example.

This issue isn't one of available images, like those laying around in a print shop; the issue is who invented the series, drew it, and executed it first in either paint or woodcut? The images are conventional and standard images, the only question is whether they tell a story, and then how they tell it (which sequence is the original intention of the author).

I think you'll find that most people don't believe the 22 standard trumps tell a story in any of the sequences - they believe that all Tarots are corrupt. I mean historical ones of course, not occultist or modern ones.

Added - by "most people" I mean most experts.
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