Ross, thanks for being the voice for this position that I suspect many of us hold.
The standard is to lose cards, that's the fact. Period. ALL of the evidence supports this.
I really don't know, how English persons define the word standard. A standard in playing cards is surely, that card decks in their individual history start to be "complete", although it can't be excluded, that there are some, which even stayed unfinished in their begin.
The risk, that some cards or even all cards of a deck are lost, increases naturally with their age, so naturally we've in the situation of 15th century a high percentage of deck fragments and for 14th century likely the state "all cards are lost". Nonetheless we've from the long history of playing cards surely a lot of complete decks (surely history knows of a greater number of lost cards), starting with the perhaps oldest deck, the Stuttgarter Jagdspiel, in 1427 (52 cards), going to the nice Hofämterspiel c. 1455 (4x12), then there is this Burgundian deck with it's rounded corners (5x13) and the 5x14 deck of Master PW, and likely I forget to mention one or two from 15th century.
If somebody is really disgusted about this, he might attempt to steal some of these cards to make his "standard-theory" fit, but such sort of "defined standard" is nonsense and helps in the research situation NOTHING. This is a PSEUDO-argument.
Sorry, that I've to use so strong words, but Ross used this argument already earlier, and it is an unfair argument and it counts nothing.
Or would it help, if I define as STANDARD for playing card decks, that they are per standard "completely lost", just cause this describes the state of the majority of all decks ever painted or printed?
That what we receive from 15th century, is just a matter of "lucky accidents", it doesn't follow "standards". And that, what we got, is outside of any rules, it are exceptions.
... my advice: forget this peace of argument, do better. This few cards, we have from 15th century against "all imagined standards", are just that what we need for our research project.
It takes too many manipulations of logic and the facts for me to accept the story that explains the missing cards with a different narrative. I've been looking at the 5x14 theory for many years now, and I remain unconvinced that the Visconti-Sforza is an example of a 5x14 deck, it doesn't make sense to me, and certainly not as much sense as that it was standarised by then. To suggest the Charles V is as well seems even more improbable.
... it's not a problem, that persons have a different opinion about the matter of the 5x14-theory, and I hope, that they have their position well considered and they could well argue about it in detail.
I personally would assume, that considering the early playing card market of 15th century, that "Trionfi-cards" per se weren' t object to standardization, just as they were made for an elite class of commissioners, and also by their exclusive composition they were missing likely in the first series of mass-productions.
Anyway, also the cheap standard playing card decks were in comparison to later times rather creative and it's difficult to build any "standard-theory" about them (for 15th century). The current state of research doesn't allow that ... in my opinion, there are just not enough findings. Things turn slightly better for 16th century, but again, the part of the creative decks is still rather high.
robert wrote:The Cary-Yale remains the strongest contrary evidence, but I am willing to accept there was ALSO experimentation to a standard 22 trump deck. Experimentation from the standard, not experimentation to the standard.
Ross wrote:Thanks for posting that chart Robert.
Yes, there really wasn't much "experimentation" with the early Tarot. There was a standard set of subjects from an early date, and those decks that remain all contain remnants of the standard subjects. The rest are lost cards.
The Cary Yale is expanded in every sense - courts and trumps - and it is also expanded by the same ratio - 2:3. That is, two extra suit cards (the female knights and valets), to three extra trumps (the Theological Virtues). 14:21 against 16:24 - 2:3. Both would also add the Fool of course (14:22, 16:25).
I'll look for my post on the Charles VI and Visconti-Sforza and repost it here so people don't have to dig it up. The upshot is, they have the same subjects.
These are not new positions.
Dummett had the idea, that there was a sort of "fixed idea" about the ratio between Trumps and suit cards, but that's just an idea, and we actually don't know, how they played in this early time, and an idea about a fixed ratio is only "just an idea" and not much more. We have a lot other of Trump/suit card ratio's in actual games used, for instance in the shortened Tarot decks with 62 or 54 cards, or in the Michelino deck structure with it's 60 cards. A "fixed ratio" is against the creativity, how players actually behave. Skat as trump game has variants with 0:32, 4:28 or 11:21, Doppelkopf is played with 24:16 or 26:22, Bridge, if a suit is trump, has 13:39, Minchiate a ratio of 40:56.
There's definitely not a religious question about the ratio of trumps to suit between people, who play actually cards.
Dummett had the idea, that the game had a lot of stability already in its beginnings. Well, he had no evidence, we know that, but naturally he was allowed to have "some ideas", and I wouldn't think, that he was intolerant about other peoples having other ideas. Generally he had an interest in documents, but the documents don't tell about about an early use of the 4x14 + 22 structure, but about 70 cards used in Ferrara 1457, and this fits better with the idea of an early 5x14-deck than with the ideas of Dummett long ago about a stable trump/number of suit cards ratio.
Also Dummett didn't know in his early time about the "14 objects" of Ferrara 1441 and not about the note of Marcello in 1449, who counted the Michelino deck as a ludus triumphorum.
So a few things have changed. Realize that.
Also the ratio between "researchers, which take the 5x14-theory serious" and "researchers, which take it not serious" has changed meanwhile.