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Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

Posted: 24 Jul 2012, 10:32
by SteveM
I am going by memory so will have to look it up -- I talking about the longer period rule of Milan, not just 1499-1505 -- but then we are talking about the transplantation of a far bigger industry and one that depends upon agricultural cyles and climate to become established (rearing of silk-worms, establishment of mulberry trees). A card manufactruing business could be moved and established far quicker.

I will have to look up some references, but from memory (which may be playing tricks on me) I recall that looms, mulberry trees and worms were said to be introduced during the campaigns of Charles VIII (there were earlier attempts to start an industry under Louis XI which seem to have stagnated). The first successfull rearing of silk-worms (which depends for its success on an abundant supply of Mulberry leaves) was in Avignon and Lyon. In 1521 a further migration of Milanese craftsmen were supported/encouraged by Francis I to move to Lyon - which then made rapid progress to become the epicenter of French silk production and trade (and was later, c.1540 -granted a monopoly of the silk trade).

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

Posted: 24 Jul 2012, 10:59
by Ross G. R. Caldwell
Thanks. That's not a bad picture from memory. It does take time to develop a silk industry, but with French control of Milan the industry there (only recently developed itself, since 1442) would have found many highly-skilled people who might be induced to move to Lyon.

The scenario of Milanese card-making skills moving to Lyon is not improbable; I make the same argument with regards to Florence and Milan -

If the Florentine style of luxury cards influenced the Milanese style, it could have been the game was introduced through the Borromeo family, who originated in Tuscany, and by the 1440s were extremely influential in the Visconti court and Milanese milieu, while maintaining contact with Tuscany. Their interest in Trionfi is proven by the fresco of wealthy people playing the game on the wall of a room in their palace in Milan, which is contemporary with the composition of the two Visconti packs. Tuscan influence also came from immigration of artisans from Tuscany into Milan in the 1440s -
The (silk) industry expanded more rapidly in the west. In Milan it was already in evidence in the 1440s, when Duke Filippo Maria Visconti took a personal interest in its development, appointing agents with the task of attracting foreign craftsmen. In 1442, his envoys came up with the name of a Florentine, Pietro di Bartolo, who was welcomed with open arms in Milan and later came to be counted as the founder of the local silk industry. After 1443 he was joined by many other artisans and entrepreneurs who arrived in Milan from Liguria and Tuscany (especially Lucca), and in the 1450s there was also a considerable immigration of Bergamask craftsmen and setaioli who had previously settled in Venice.
(Luca Molà, The Silk Industry in Renaissance Venice (Johns Hopkins UP, 2000) pp. 3-4)

So there was plenty of room for an importation of Florentine cards in the early 1440s. We seem to have a triangle of Florence-Ferrara-Milan for luxury cards, with Florence being the dominant model originally (Jacopo di Poggino is called a "card painter" (depintore di naibi) in Florence in 1446, although printed cards were already strongly present), Ferrara remaining an in-house speciality of the Este, and Milan's pattern coming to be preferred in the 1450s (witnessed in Malatesta's letter to the Duchess Bianca Maria requesting cards from the Cremona workshop in 1452; although a condottiere for Florence (although decommissioned at the time of his request for the cards), he nevertheless sought Milanese cards).
Remember that when Dummett came up with the theory that the C order went from Milan to France, the earliest French notice of Tarot was in Rabelais, 1534. So, by placing the first French encounter with Milanese Tarot during Charles VIII's invasion in 1494, there were 40 years of possible silence for the game to have become established in France.

But one of the legs of this argument was wrong - the date is 1505, not 1534, and the other is improbable - Charles VIII's armies did not enter Milan, and spent hardly any time in Lombardy. The vast bulk of their time was spent in Naples and Tuscany, where they would have encountered a different game from C or a (proto)-Tarot de Marseille pattern.

So the theory by which the Cary Sheet HAS to be from Milan, because it is ancestral to the Tarot de Marseille, Tarot de Marseille is C, and C comes from Milan, is on shaky ground. To be plausible, the big French encounter with the C or proto-Tarot de Marseille has to be squeezed into the time between late 1499 and early 1505. I don't think Dummett would have been so sure of his theory with those constraints, but as far as I know he never revised his position or even addressed the implications of these facts for the theory.

Re: Tarot Origins and Early 15th Century Woodblock Printing

Posted: 24 Jul 2012, 11:02
by SteveM
SteveM wrote: I will have to look up some references, but from memory (which may be playing tricks on me)
Maybe not quite right -but along the right tracks, according to an early 19th century book whose information admittedly be have been superceded by further research...

According to "A treatise on the production and manufacture of silk' by John Clarke, 1839 p.69 et al:

The manufacture of silk does not appear to have
been introduced into France earlier than the time of
Louis XI., who in 1480 established, with extensive
privileges, at Tours, the artisans he had obtained from
Genoa, Venice, and Florence. Authors do not ap-
pear to be perfectly" agreed relative to the first intro-
duction of the silk loorm into France. Some refer
that event to the year 1494, or during the campaigns
of Charles VIII., when, it is aifirmed that not only
silk worms, but also a further supply of mulberry
trees were brought from Italy, which gave prospe-
rity to the rich countries that border on the Rhone.
The progress of the manufacture, however, appears
to have been comparatively stationary, until the reign
of Francis I. The artisans obtained in the year 1521
from the dutchy of Milan, then in the possession of
the French, introduced the manufacture into Lyons,
and were encouraged by the patronage of that mo-
narch. According to these authorities, it was from
this time that a more rapid progress ensued, and ma-
nufactories sprung up not only in Lyons, but also in
the southern provinces, adequate first to supply do-
mestic consumption, and soon after to export wrought
silks of a quality to sustain competition in foreign
markets, which to France ultimately became, even
from England only, a source of abundant wealth.

But according to Thuanus, it is to Francis I. that
the French were indebted for the first introduction
of the silk worms; which were successfully reared in
Provence, Avignon, and Lyons. Others refer this
event to the time of Henry IV. The more probable
case is that all previous attempts, whether in the
raising of silk, or in the manufacture of fabrics, com-
pared with those resulting from the more Uberal
patronage of the monarch last mentioned, were not
so extensively successful. Indeed it is acknowledged
that both mulberry trees and silk worms were reared
before in Lyonnois, Dauphinc, Provence, and Lan-
guedoc ; but by Henry, it appears, they were natu-
ralized as far north as Orleans ; who also, according
to Mezeray planted the trees at Paris, and reared the
worms at the Tiiileries. The Parisians were encou-
raged by letters patent, conferring, on certain condi-
tions, even titles of nobility, to introduce manufacto-
ries into the metropolis. But later experience has
shown that the climate north of the Loire is not
suitable to the insect.

M. d'Homergue informs us that Henry " invited
one Michaeli from Italy into his dominions, and gave
him, for the purpose of forming an extensive planta-
tion of mulberry trees, and raising the article of silk,
the castle of the old Marquis de Fournes, situate on
the river Gardon, in the vicinity of Nimes. This inge-
nious foreigner was the first who began the manufac-
tories of silk stutis that now enrich that city. And
tradition informs us that the king expended on those
establishments the immense sum of near one million
and a half of livres; an enormous sum in those days."

Olivier de Serres was highly instrumental in urging
the king in the furtherance of this national benefit,*
who is, indeed, called by the French to this day, the
patriarch of agriculture. The king conscious of the
merits of Olivier, " offered him the highest honours, —
but he asked for one favour only, viz. that all useless
trees might be banished from the royal gardens ; an
example that was soon extensively followed through-
out the kingdom. At Olivier's recommendation
14,000 mulberry trees, and a large quantity of seed
of the same tree were ordered from Italy, to supply
the vacancies intentionally made in the Royal Gar-
dens. In later times he also procured silk worms'
eggs, and persons acquainted Avith their rearing.
The trees, the eggs, and printed instructions, were
distributed gratis to agriculturists."
end quote: ... r_djvu.txt

Of the trade in Milan:
At his estate in Vigevano (located about 35 kilometers west of Milan), Ludovico expanded on an agricultural endeavor started by Filippo Maria Visconti (1402-1447) in the 1440's (Figure 6.1).

In order to decrease Milan's dependence on imported raw silk, Visconti planted white mulberry trees (morus alba), the leaves of which are the preferred food of the silkworm.5 In January of 1442, Visconti also wooed an expert silk-maker, Pietro di Bartolo, from Florence to teach Milanese weavers his trade. The official decree
outlining the specifics of this arrangement suggested that Filippo Maria went to great lengths to please Bartolo. He offered him a ten-year exemption from all state and personal tax, seventy fiorini a month as a subsidy for the stipends of his workers...

From 1450 to 1462, Francesco Sforza built on the initial investments made by Visconti by granting Milanese citizenship to magistri syrici or magist de panno da seta from cities like Cremona, Florence, Bergamo, and Genoa.10 In 1457, he issued an important incentive to bolster and protect Milan's silk industry, forbidding the sale in Milan of all foreign-made silk textiles. This embargo enabled local manufacturers to establish a monopoly in their territory and forced the Milanese gentry to stop purchasing silk in Venice, Florence and Genoa, cities famous for high-quality fabrics. By ensuring that his own silk workers would have exclusive access to Milan’s most sophisticated clientele, Francesco Sforza established an incentive to improve quality. In a short time, Milan’s silk products became the most sought-after in Italy and in many parts of Europe...

When Galeazzo Maria Sforza (1444-1476) became Duke in 1466, he continued to make the business of the silk industry a priority. By 1467, more than 300 silk workers were operating in Milan, according to census records. This number exceeded the number of workers in any other manufacturing industry...

Galeazzo Maria also took steps to make silk-weavers independent by decreasing the need to import raw materials from outside Milan. On March 15, 1470, he issued a decree stating that each landowner was to plant five mulberry trees for every one hundred pertiche of land. Growers who did not comply with this order, would be fined twenty lire imperiali for every unplanted tree...

Thanks to the efficient administration of his predecessors, Ludovico Sforza inherited a lucrative and well-regulated enterprise... Ludovico also encouraged mulberry farming by personal example... When referring to his mulberry tree farm, Ludovico swelled with pride. Vigevano, his birthplace, was one of his favorite places for entertaining visiting dignitaries. He spent as much time as he could there, especially after his marriage to Beatrice d'Este, and he spoke of his enterprise in positive terms to his contemporaries. The following excerpt
comes a letter sent to a certain Bianchino de Palude in 1497:

Blanchino: you know what pleasure we have always had from the mulberries and silk that come from our Sforzescha. Because we are on such good terms, we would like for you to visit the Sforzescha sometime to see what is being done with this silk.
end quote: ... 006etd.pdf