For those who would indulge me in a bit more silliness…an overlooked but telling attribute of the Fool: its bushkins.
If the PMB Fool was not modified from its Psalmist God-denying Fool source, then was it the Bolognese who transformed this character into military band figure, complete with bushkins?
And yet the PMB already had this militaristic attribute - bushkins (Greek kothornos
or Latin cothurnos
- something a humanist such as Filelfo would have been familiar with).
A buskin is a knee- or calf-length boot made of leather or cloth
which laces closed, but is open across the toes. It was worn by Athenian tragic actors, hunters and soldiers
in Ancient Greek, Etruscan, and Roman societies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buskin
I often wondered why the PMB Fool inexplicably wore bushkins when none of the source images from the Visconti Tacuinum Sanitatis
, the God-denying Fools from Psalms nor Giotto's fool do. The incontrovertible proof, however, that the Fool has indeed been modified from a mere idiotic rural peasant into an idiotic militaristic figure (to my mind: an allegory for the sedition of the popolo
or mob, freshly experienced under the Ambrosian Republic) is that the classically dressed imperator figure in the PMB Strength card also wears bushkins
Not that additional proof is needed after the internal evidence of the PMB, but note that later iterations of the Fool in the Sola Busca (not standard tarot trumps but a kindred card production) and the Bolognese decks that retain the buskins, thus the Fool as solider outfitted with various musical instruments:
Finally, the upward trumpet-like pipe from the bagpipe held by the Sola Busca Fool extends at the same angle up into the frame of the card, exactly like on the PMB Fool, as if the latter were the model (again, the essential information here is that these Fools carried musical instruments - not clubs):