Re: Visconti snake

#31
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote: I think most people are reasonable, and will see that we have fragmentary decks from the 15th century, which once contained the 22 standard trumps. This includes the Charles VI, Catania, Brambilla, Visconti-Sforza, and Este decks. The Cary-Yale is a unique deck, both in the trumps and the Court Cards.
Ross, thanks for being the voice for this position that I suspect many of us hold.

When I look at Kaplan's chart of the Visconti decks and the remaining cards from the decks, there is not one that is still complete, and most are missing many cards.




The standard is to lose cards, that's the fact. Period. ALL of the evidence supports this.

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.

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.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Visconti snake

#32
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.
Image

Re: Visconti snake

#33
One thing about these missing cards that is not often discussed- is the practice of giving miniatures at the feast of John the Baptist. The were placed on the columns in the Church and in Homes (something like Christmas cards are today) I have this opinion that this is where the cards went and where we get single cards from today- like the Viper (Ace of Batons- thank you Ross) and the Ship etc. I am sure these cards are in private hands today and still quite treasured. One of the printers bread and butter tasks was to sell these images that could be painted at home for gifts on the feast day. An investigation into the Renaissance passion of scrap booking would be a rich source of information.The printers also printed Holy cards for this. Not everyone could draw- and often a writer with a good penmanship would be hired to write the script. Now if you were rich...hand painted illuminations like these cards were a great gift.

~Lorredan
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Visconti snake

#34
hi Robert,
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.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Visconti snake

#36
The point that the chart Robert posted, from Stuart Kaplan, Encyclopedia of Tarot, vol. II, p. 45, makes clear, is that there is a standard set of subjects in all of these early, handpainted cards.

Kaplan just adds to the confusion when he suggests that Cary Yale's Faith, Hope, and Charity are the Pope, the Star and the Popess. This is not necessary - Cary Yale is the sole exception to the trend, and is best understood as a derivative of the standard model, since it also expands the court cards. It is also the largest of the luxury decks - it is exceptional in every way, and should not be taken as evidence of yet another standard, nor evidence of some kind of unrestrained fluidity among the subjects fit to be called "trumps".

When you add in the printed series - Beaux-Arts/Rothschild, Rosenwald, Metropolitan/Budapest Museum, and Cary, sheets, you find that those subjects are an exact match to the luxury cards.

There were standard subjects, a standard number of them, and variations in ordering among those same subjects, for the deck of cards and game known as Trionfi.

Every deck has missing cards. This is the normal attrition of history. Kaplan's chart also demonstrates that fact.

People who commissioned custom-made decks sometimes asked for personal insignia and other personal fancies to be added to the deck, but the subjects of the trumps are always based on the standard, whatever the style they chose to represent them (such as, probably, the Nude-with-Stag in the Catania series, which seems nevertheless to be the virtue Temperance).

When there is an overwhelming trend, you have to assume that outliers are exceptions to a rule, not evidence there was no rule. In the case of the Tarot trumps, that trend is the existence of the standard subjects from the beginning.

Another point is that in order to play a game well, you have to be familiar with it. Tarot is attested over half of Italy by the 1470s (and over the whole north by the 1450s). The people who played it would not have wanted constant experimentation in the number and subjects of their game, and it is impossible that a change that happened in one place also got adopted by every other place, as if by some central authority.

The only model that can explain the uniformity of subjects, and the number of them, is diffusion of a standard game from the beginning.
Image

Re: Visconti snake

#37
mmfilesi wrote:Well ... I have the solution of this problem...


... But I dont understand why Ross has not yet built a time machine? :-o
I'm not sure I'd want to go back into some of these times. I guess I would, if I had an "Escape" button with me at all times.

But with a time machine, there'd be no more history - we'd just go and record everything. All mysteries solved!

Show up in Milan in 1425, ask for carte da trionfi. Everybody looks at you like you're crazy - what the hell are carte da trionfi?

So, you decide it's too early. You re-dial yourself to 1440. Now you ask for carte da trionfi. Now somebody knows where you can get some. You ask who invented the game, and where - your informant doesn't know, so you decide 1440 is too late.

You re-dial to 1435, etc., in different places, narrowing it down until you hit the right place at the right time.

None of us would be here if we had a time machine.
Image

Re: Visconti snake

#38
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:The point that the chart Robert posted, from Stuart Kaplan, Encyclopedia of Tarot, vol. II, p. 45, makes clear, is that there is a standard set of subjects in all of these early, handpainted cards.

.....
How you define "standard"? How you define "rules"?

We have even a complete Tarocchi deck from 15th century, the Sola Busca. We have complete descriptions of two others, the Boiardo Tarocchi poem and the Michelino deck. We have complete Mantegna Tarocchi in great number, also some, which are complete.
You ignore, that complete German decks from the time have survived.

You have very limited data from Kaplan's page (which only aims at Visconti-Sforza-Tarocchi), and any statistician would tell you, that this is not enough to speak of standards or rules.
If you enlarge this group with other available data (for instance the group of 15th century German decks), then you see, that "complete decks" have a relative good chance to survive (just cause in some cases existed perfect conditions, some careful early collectors saved them), and that the first major group are deck fragments between 1-5 cards. This statistical behavior seems logical. Naturally this data is also too small to make too much of it, but it at least behaves somehow logical. One card surviving and total surviving are likely the most often states.

The conclusions to the 14 Bembo trumps and the Charles VI trumps only claim, that these groups are complete, not the whole deck. About the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo Tarocchi it's anyway claimed with right, that they're nearly complete, and the Charles VI has statistical absurd conditions in the way, that there are 16 trumps and only one suit card. You cannot take such a curious composition as a case of the usual careless handling of the cards, which resulted in not-complete sets with an accidental existence of a number of trumps and another number of suit cards.
Somehow we have in this case an unknown background ... for instance somebody might have ordered only the Florentine trumps and wished to add small arcana of his own choice (with own heraldic etc.). He just took one further court card with him to have an impression, how these might have done. Assuming such a scenario, the idea is very easily there, that this trumps series might be complete.

Well, inside the world of your theory, that somebody formed the Tarot ex nihilo in Bologna c. 1438 with a following big distribution very soon after and then, as Robert formulated, "Experimentation from the standard, not experimentation to the standard", this observation seems to count nothing, as the observation around the two painters of the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo seem to mean nothing and a confirming note from Ferrara in 1457 is worthless and the 14 objects of 1.1.1441 seem also not really of value and Marcello's opinion in 1449, that the Michelino deck was a ludus triumphorum ... he just interpreted it as a new ludus triumphorum with 16 trumps instead of 22, although such a high reduction in the trump numbers looks a little bit strange.

Well, me, as you know, interpret in the current phase of research the early development of the game far slower, less determined by a standard and in contrary far more creative, and I see the early market of the worthwhile Trionfi decks much more reduced. A rich people game, as somebody (was it Lollio ?) claimed still in 1550. A very limited number of players in the beginning, and just players, who wished to have own creative decks, own heraldic and own private and personal art.

So there's a big difference and this will not change without new discoveries, I would assume. So let's live in peace with this already well known difference in our interpretation.

... :-) ... however, just as a side remark, the research of a "creative universe of playing card development" with a lot of interesting relations of concrete persons in history seems to be far more interesting than the boring research for the one genius man, who all caused it. I think, this can't be helped.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Visconti snake

#39
I'm not sure I'd want to go back into some of these times. I guess I would, if I had an "Escape" button with me at all times.
Imagine being able to meet Leonardo d'Vinci, Michelangelo, Rafaello ... But yes, better with an "Escape" button :D .

-o-
There were standard subjects, a standard number of them, and variations in ordering among those same subjects, for the deck of cards and game known as Trionfi.
Well, I think this is a very powerful argument. But maybe we must restrict the time frame.

Before continuing, We are agree with these dates?

Karnöffel: at least, 1426
Das spiel guldin: 1432
Carte da VIII imperadori (Ferrara): 1423
Michelino: +/- 1424

If we agree with these dates, we can advertising around 1420-1430 exist an explosion of creativity with the cards. It's a experimentation phase very intensive. In addition, we can think of a long bridge between northern Italy and Germany (political and economic: ambassadors, councils, as the Council of Constance, the paper industry <- closely related to the cards).

First problem: So, why we have not found any reference to 22 triumphs for this phase?

-o-
and the Charles VI trumps only claim, that these groups are complete,
I am not agree with these. Please, can you explain me why its complete?

I dont find any document where said a member of Medici family played with a deck with 16 triumphs, only with a minchiate.
When a man has a theory // Can’t keep his mind on nothing else (By Ross)

Re: Visconti snake

#40
mmfilesi wrote:

and the Charles VI trumps only claim, that these groups are complete,
I am not agree with these. Please, can you explain me why its complete?

I dont find any document where said a member of Medici family played with a deck with 16 triumphs, only with a minchiate.
... :-) ... I assume, that the Charles VI is a Medici deck, and that it had 16 trumps only ... so the fragment is complete with the existing 16 trumps according my theory. Naturally there is no document, which says, that Medici played with 16 cards only (well, that would be easy then), and perhaps and likely they played only a short time in this way.

This is part of the Chess Tarot theory, according which Chess took a higher influence than earlier suspected.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

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