The Tarot de Paris (The Parisian Tarot)

#1
An exploration of this deck is long overdue.

It is generally accepted that this one of a kind deck was originally published in the early 1600s. If this is correct, it would mean that it is older than any existing Tarot de Marseille (Tarot de Marseille), (the Jean Noblet Tarot is dated to around 1650, and the Jean Dodal to the early 1700s). Of course, the Cary Sheet indicates that, (at least elements of), the Tarot de Marseille style has been around since around 1500. The Tarot de Paris is usually considered the oldest existing deck that still contains all 78 original cards.

The Tarot de Paris (TdP) follows the numbering of the Tarot de Marseille, and like the Tarot de Marseille has titles and numbers printed on the cards. Some of the cards are clearly related to the Tarot de Marseille, but many have unique designs or are related to other decks. In some ways, the deck reminds me of the Jacques Vieville, it has a crude and wild streak, but sometimes the artwork is incredibly rich and beautiful. Some of the detail in the facsimile version published by Grimaud in 1985 is difficult to see clearly as the colours used in the original have darkened obscuring some of the lines and making some of the artwork difficult to decipher.

An excellent summary of the deck exists on Andy's Playing Cards. I'd like to take it a step further and discuss some of the details. This is one of the most important of our early decks, and one of the least known and discussed. Unfortunately, the deck is very difficult to find now, although copies can still be found occasionally on ebay.

I hope you'll join me in exploring this treasure. I've placed a gallery of the trumps on my tarot history weblog, and will start posting the images in this thread for us to discuss.
cavete deos

Re: The Tarot de Paris (The Parisian Tarot)

#2
LE BATELEUR
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Compared to Tarot de Marseille versions of this card, there are a lot of other figures in this depiction. When I first saw it I thought the Bateleur might be the figure in the fools ears towards the back of the card as I'm used to seeing the main figure there. Instead, it is the figure to the right that is our Bateleur.

Some interesting features:
  • The bateleur doesn't seem to be holding a baton, does he?
  • He has a monkey and a dog at his feet.
  • The table is very odd, is it a table placed on top of a platform? Is there a tablecloth on top?
  • Who are the two additional figures? Is one a fool? Is one a scholar?
  • What is happening on the table? Are they playing a game of "cups and balls"? If so, is the fool pointing towards one of the cups?
  • Is the bateleur wearing shorts?
  • Isn't his cap interesting. Does it mean anything style-wise? Is that a feather sticking out of the top of it?
  • Is that a symbol on the hand of the unidentified character, it looks a bit like a lightening bolt.
This card reminds me of the Minchiate's Bateleur/Bagato:

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And also very much of the of the Catelin Geofroy tarot, dated 1557, Lyons:
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Ross put together a great page comparing iconography of the Bateleur here: http://www.angelfire.com/space/tarot/bagatella.html

It's interesting to see the monkey on the card. There was a long discussion on Aeclectic concerning the Cary Sheet and most participants agreed that it was quite likely a monkey on the back of the Bateleur as seen in this detail:
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The monkey with the bateleur or with a fool type character can be found in other work from the period, including this wonderful image of the "Children of the Planets - The Children of Luna" where the bateleur can be seen in the bottom right area with the monkey nearby:
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What can we make of this card? Can we learn anything of how the bateleur was viewed at the time? What connections to other decks can be made?
cavete deos

Re: The Tarot de Paris (The Parisian Tarot)

#3
Oh! Bob...
How I missed too much all this time,this kind of analysis...

-Well amazing deck and as you said the very first named and numbered.
Many details to see from now on.

-I am agree that has coincidences with Vieville,and this again puts on the table the supposed reversed stigma of this deck.(Even till now I always asked to me why at card number XXI only the bull and the lion are inverted,so not are the Angel and the Eagle).

* In both cases in cards number I / XIII and XV the figure walks towards to the left

-See you later...

;)
The Universe is like a Mamushka.

Re: The Tarot de Paris (The Parisian Tarot)

#4
Hi Robert, great analysis and thanks for upload the trumps in excellent quality into the blog!
I am glad that the forum is of return in operation, this is my first message here, I am useful to present to me formally: my name is Nicolás, I am from Mar del Plata, Argentina, and I am an enthusiastic one of the historical study of the Tarot de Marseille. I will be kind to the new features this way... Them comment that I am making an analysis on the card back of the decks and I can´t find the one of the Tarot de Paris, it is in some place?

Re: The Tarot de Paris (The Parisian Tarot)

#5
EUGIM wrote:Oh! Bob...
How I missed too much all this time,this kind of analysis...

-Well amazing deck and as you said the very first named and numbered.
Many details to see from now on.

-I am agree that has coincidences with Vieville,and this again puts on the table the supposed reversed stigma of this deck.(Even till now I always asked to me why at card number XXI only the bull and the lion are inverted,so not are the Angel and the Eagle).

* In both cases in cards number I / XIII and XV the figure walks towards to the left

-See you later...

;)
Hi Eugim,

It's great to see you too. I am not sure I have any real sense of "which way" is right when comparing the decks. Most people tend to look at the Tarot de Marseille as some sort of holy canon and assume that it is right and that all of its relations must be wrong when they don't agree. This gets confused though when we compare the differences on the Noblet and the Dodal or Conver and see that even these three don't agree. If we consider that the Noblet and the Vieville and the Paris are the three oldest (existing, although it can be argued that the Dodal or even the Conver is from an older source), I think it is fair to question which is really the old directions. There are some areas of text on the Vieville though that seem very much to be reversed which make it reasonable to question it.

I agree about the "four evangelists" on the World card, at one time I mentioned to JMD that most of the images I could find from cathedrals matched the Vieville rather than the Tarot de Marseille, but he pointed out that there was a mixture of versions of the order... just like what we now have on the cards. I think a thread to discuss that would be very interesting.

Welcome back Eugim.
robert
cavete deos

Re: The Tarot de Paris (The Parisian Tarot)

#6
lamort wrote:Hi Robert, great analysis and thanks for upload the trumps in excellent quality into the blog!
I am glad that the forum is of return in operation, this is my first message here, I am useful to present to me formally: my name is Nicolás, I am from Mar del Plata, Argentina, and I am an enthusiastic one of the historical study of the Tarot de Marseille. I will be kind to the new features this way... Them comment that I am making an analysis on the card back of the decks and I can´t find the one of the Tarot de Paris, it is in some place?
Hello Nicolás, a very deep and hearty welcome to you, I'm glad you've joined us. You're timing is very good! :) Eugim is also from Argentina, so I suppose I should be worried about the two of you chatting in Spanish!

I'll scan a copy of the back of the Tarot of Paris and add it to this thread for you. It is very similar to the Noblet and Vieville, which makes sense if we consider that they are all from the same city at about the same time (I'm not sure why people have dated the Tarot of Paris to the early 1600s, does anyone know who dated it and why?).

Please feel free to start a post on any card that you would like to discuss and share with us what you find curious and fascinating. I have no interest in "leading" discussions, and try to start them just to get other people discussing a topic, I find it much more enjoyable to explore as a group.

It's delightful to have you here, I look forward more discussions and explorations together.

Bienvenidos,
robert
cavete deos

Re: The Tarot de Paris (The Parisian Tarot)

#7
Here is the back of the Tarot de Paris:
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I've always thought the image of the cross looks like it is made up of duck feet, and I remember discussing this with JMD years ago, and I wondered if that was connected to the Language of Birds.. or some such thing. Also, it reminds me of the cross on the Popes gloves, as seen here on the Dodal and the Conver:

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It shows up in other places too, but I can't remember where off the top of my head (see what 8 months can do to you)!
cavete deos

Re: The Tarot de Paris (The Parisian Tarot)

#8
Let's consider the Popess.

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I really like this Papesse. There is so much happening in this image that it's hard to focus on any one thing. The book, the key, the crown, the statues, the drapes... where do we begin?

Well, let's start with her crown, in many of the Tarot de Marseille images it's honestly difficult to tell if she is really wearing the "triple crown" of the papacy, or a double crown or even a bishop's mitre. I think I would feel pretty confident is stating that she is indeed wearing the triple crown on the Tarot de Paris. Let's compare her to the Noblet, Dodal and Chosson:

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On the Tarot de Paris, she holds a book in her hands as is typical in most images of the Popess, in her other hand she holds a Key which isn't found in the Tarot de Marseille versions of this card. I'm under the impression that the book would probably indicate a "Doctor of Canon Law" and that the key would represent the one of the keys in his insignia, the keys of St Peter. Can anyone tell me if these assumptions are correct? Why not two keys?

The way she holds the book is extremely funny to me. She seems to be balancing it on the arm of her throne and touching it ever so preciously, a very different image than the book in the lap that we commonly see.

The arms on her throne are held up by extremely ornate statues, I find the one on the right particularly curious, is he glancing across at the other statue? Whatever they are, they are fantastic.

Behind the Popess are very ornate drapes, and I love that I can clearly see the hangings. This is exactly what I imagine the curtains behind the Popess "should" look like, but in the Tarot de Marseille the lines seem merely to suggest this. Here, I can see the gathers and ties that make up the drapery that falls on either side, as well as the curtains behind her. It's lovely.

I think my favourite thing on this card though is what, I think, is a pillow under her feet! I think I can see the tassels hanging from the side as well. I've never been sure what the area in front of her was supposed to represent on the Tarot de Marseille. JMD has suggested a few items before, including a spinning wheel which I must say the spokes do remind me of. Now, I wonder if it might actually be a pillow? What do you think?

Now, I don't think we can discuss the Tarot de Paris Popess without mentioning an even earlier card that is strikingly similar: the Catelin Geoffroy, from Lyon, dated 1557:

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and for comparison's sake, let's add in the Vievile:

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What are your thoughts when comparing these cards?

Re: The Tarot de Paris (The Parisian Tarot)

#9
Thanks for the pleasant welcome and scanning backcard Robert!
My English is quite bad, I hope can understand to me.
With respect to the similarity between backcards of the Noblet, Vieville and Parisian decks and the crossings on LEPAPE gloves is very interesting, perhaps the other similarity that you do not remember is with the marks of ¨duck feets¨ that are in the right arm of LEMPEREVR of the Noblet deck:

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Well, I will continue taking a walk by this town; reading, discussing and learning… Saludos!

Re: The Tarot de Paris (The Parisian Tarot)

#10
Hi Lamort,nice to see you here...
Yes Robert I recently knew Nicolas by e mail and of course we were chating.
He is an enthusiast searcher.

1-Regarding to I,XIII and XV:Well is a fact that all go towards the same side
2-LA PAPESSE: Just for me Catelin Geoffroy,TdP and Vieville tarots show the book closed.
So another detail that let s me thinking again that may be Vieville (1643) based his deck on an older mould.
3-XXI /Vieville: I remark the point that only the lion and bull are inverted,so don t fit for me yet the theory about a "reversed deck".
For example,as far as I know the V card of Vieville is the only deck that how that the Pope is blessing the acolytes "directly".
He is looking to both,blessing both.His facing both.he is watching to both.
4-About the date of the TdP I only found at the only serious source I have (thanks Yves),the book "Tarot Jeu et Magie" tha Monsieur Depaulis dtaed it " premiere moitie du XVII s."
I can t find the 2 de deniers or the 2 de coupee.
5-Just to think about it : Why the Pope has a beard on all the Tarot de Marseille decks? (BTW:Has it the Pope of TdP ? )
Recently I was reading the book of Alberto Couste " The tarot or the machine of imagining ",where he there transcribed some paragraphs of Van Rijneberk book "Le Tarot,histoire,iconographie,esoterisme"

Popes from :
a- 1362 to 1523 : shaved
b- 1523 to 1700 : bearded
c- 23/11/1700 till now : shaved (from Clément XI

Au revoir ...
The Universe is like a Mamushka.

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