The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

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Re: The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

Postby Lorredan on 21 Jun 2008, 22:45

OK Mitelli strode amongst my dreams last night- so I have ordered the lovely deck.
The Knight of cups is reminiscent of Scapini's Knight of Coins- Looking at the medieval Scapini I reckon Mitelli was the inspiration for many of the ideas.
As an side I am not sure how you want to discuss this deck, but here are some interesting details. The Pope of the time of this deck was Alexander V11 (1655) and his monument is the wonderful sculpture by Bernini in Saint Peter's Basilica.
http://images.google.co.nz/imgres?imgur ... ://www.sai

Also this time was a great interest in Emblemata books and images, much like a lot of Mitelli's work in games etc.
The baldachino or bronze canopy over the altar is also a Bernini work and the Angel of this deck is very reminiscent of the drawings of Bernini.
~Lorredan
ps take a look at death under the pall on the monument it holds a sand clock also. Catherine of Hungary was converted at the time of this Alexander and is possibly like the card Empress. The queen made me laugh, with her wasting her money- a take on the Borgia Girl????
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Re: The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

Postby robert on 22 Jun 2008, 01:27

Thanks for the links and information Lorredan!

I'm glad you've decided to order the deck, surely dreaming of it is a good sign.

The Queen of Coins really is funny, perhaps she's being generous though... sharing her wealth? Although I suppose it might do better in someone's hands than on the ground!

I saw the figure of Death with an hourglass while I was in Prague, it's one of the mechanical figures on the astronomical clock.
Picture 13.png
Picture 13.png (151.29 KiB) Viewed 5096 times


Please discuss the deck anyway you'd like, with whatever comes to mind. I'm personally just hoping to learn more about it, and things related to it, so your post was very interesting and enjoyable.
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Re: The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

Postby Lorredan on 22 Jun 2008, 03:49

Well little bits at a time as I peruse the deck.
Firstly, the Bateleur and the Fool are both minus one shoe/boot,and brings to mind the Lingua Franca of the Italian word shoe- Scarpa(polari to take to ones feet and run off) or the French word Sabot which is the basis for sabotage. Also back in biblical times the antiquity of the symbolism of the shoe or boot in connection with luck and marriage, when the plucking off of a shoe denoted the confirmation of a contract redemption or change of ownership. Neither Fool or Bateleur is slave or freeman, they walk between both worlds it seems. We also have some left over from this symbolism as we tie old shoes on the back of cars after a marriage- who has lost their freedom I ask? The Strength card is reminiscent of Mantegna's card with the broken pillar. I like the Traitor card.
How I love the carefree attitude of the Fool. There is such lightness in the drawing. I am not sure I agree with the lack of Her Popeness as a negative to a deck in popularity- I reckon maybe she was a he in the main. It is interesting that the 16 cards that have not been used are like what we do for 500 now when playing (removing 4's down). It is like a whole suit is missing in an odd way.
The Devil is elegant is he not? Except for his tattered wings. I have something tickling at the back of mind about the trident he carries and the sea serpent he stands upon. It will come to me as I look at the images some more. I like the partial pictorial pips too again reminiscent of the Medieval Scapini- Scarpini seems to have used many of Mitelli's devices especially for the coins.
I guess I am an Italianophile rather than a follower of the French fashion per Tarot de Marseille.
Oh I remember now about the trident...
The trident was traditionally a tool of war, and the three prongs were Change, Conflict and Creation, sort of in opposition to the Trinity in Christianity; In addition, according to symbols the trident, in the hands of Neptune/Poseidon, was used to strike the ground to cause tidal waves and earthquakes.
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Re: The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

Postby Lorredan on 23 Jun 2008, 04:43

Just a little story from the annals in vague connection to the deck. You know I said that Alexander V11 was Pope when Mitelli was drawing his games and decks books etc. Remember that Pope Alexander commissioned Bernini the sculpture r to make his memorial? On the Memorial is Death with his hour glass. Death in the deck is standing in front of an obelisk? Well Alexander had nicked an obelisk from Egypt (well he nicked it from the Vatican Gardens where it was placed after been nicked from Egypt) and he wanted Bernini to make a base for it and to put it in front of his Church the Santa Maria sopra Minerva.
It is called officially Pulcino della Minerva. Bernini 's design was carried out by his pupil Ercole Ferrata in 1667. It is of an elephant as the supporting base for the Egyptian obelisk. It is the shortest of the eleven Egyptian obelisks in Rome. The two obelisks were brought to Rome by Diocletian, during his reign as emperor, for placement at the Temple of Isis which stood nearby. The Latin inscription on the base, chosen by the pope who commissioned the sculpture to support the obelisk found on the site, Alexander VII, is said to represent that "a strong mind is needed to support a solid knowledge".

The appearance of the structure earned it the popular nickname of "Porcino" ("Piggy") for a while. The name for the structure eventually changed to Pulcino, the Italian equivalent of a small or little "chick". This may have been a reference to the short height of the obelisk or, an obscure reference to the major charity of the Dominicans to assist young women needing dowries, who made a procession in the courtyard every year; or maybe just to remove Piggy to something more appropriate lol.

Now the laughable thing is that the Elephant is smiling -really smiling- it is delightful! and if you circle around to his bottom you can see why. His anal muscles are straining and his tail is to one side. He is about to defecate right outside the front door of Bernini's enemy in the clergy- the one Cardinal who did not want Bernini to make the Pope's memorial. Amen.
I like the obelisk on the Death Card for all it reminds one of eternity and memorials and life's finite period.
~Lorredan
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Re: The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

Postby robert on 08 Jul 2008, 04:48

Lorredan wrote:Well little bits at a time as I peruse the deck.
Firstly, the Bateleur and the Fool are both minus one shoe/boot,and brings to mind the Lingua Franca of the Italian word shoe- Scarpa(polari to take to ones feet and run off) or the French word Sabot which is the basis for sabotage. Also back in biblical times the antiquity of the symbolism of the shoe or boot in connection with luck and marriage, when the plucking off of a shoe denoted the confirmation of a contract redemption or change of ownership. Neither Fool or Bateleur is slave or freeman, they walk between both worlds it seems. We also have some left over from this symbolism as we tie old shoes on the back of cars after a marriage- who has lost their freedom I ask?

Great stuff. I never even noticed the two without shoes! It seems pretty clear to me that in Mitelli's mind, the two were very connected:
ImageImage

Lorredan wrote:The Strength card is reminiscent of Mantegna's card with the broken pillar. I like the Traitor card.
How I love the carefree attitude of the Fool. There is such lightness in the drawing. I am not sure I agree with the lack of Her Popeness as a negative to a deck in popularity- I reckon maybe she was a he in the main. It is interesting that the 16 cards that have not been used are like what we do for 500 now when playing (removing 4's down). It is like a whole suit is missing in an odd way.

The Traitor is shocking, probably even to those of us who already have an understanding of Le Pendu as "The Traitor". I can't think of any other tarot card that shows such a graphic depiction.

Concerning the Popess, well.. I think you know I've wondered for years now about the origin and possible connection to a male pope, so it "makes sense" to me to see two popes in this deck. I guess I'm biased from too many discussions on other forums where it usually feels that the Popess and Empress are looked on with a positive and loving view and the Pope and Emperor are seen as dogmatic and patriarchal. To lose the popular female aspect and double the masculine seems a recipe for poor sales to me!

Regarding a "missing suit".. that's a very interesting observation that would never occur to me. Hmmmm.

Lorredan wrote:The Devil is elegant is he not? Except for his tattered wings. I have something tickling at the back of mind about the trident he carries and the sea serpent he stands upon. It will come to me as I look at the images some more.

The devil is amazingly beautiful, probably the most handsome devil I have ever seen in a tarot, even with his taloned feet.
Image
I wonder if that is an eye on his wing. I'm increasingly convinced that the Tarot de Marseille devil had eyes on his wings.

Lorredan wrote:I like the partial pictorial pips too again reminiscent of the Medieval Scapini- Scarpini seems to have used many of Mitelli's devices especially for the coins.
I guess I am an Italianophile rather than a follower of the French fashion per Tarot de Marseille.
Oh I remember now about the trident...
The trident was traditionally a tool of war, and the three prongs were Change, Conflict and Creation, sort of in opposition to the Trinity in Christianity; In addition, according to symbols the trident, in the hands of Neptune/Poseidon, was used to strike the ground to cause tidal waves and earthquakes.

I think of Shiva when I think of the trident, and that makes me think of an aspect of the devil as well, at least as the Destroyer. I love Shiva, and find a connection with him to gods of ecstasy like Dionysus as well, who I think also can be traced to our horned fellow above.
Image
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Re: The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

Postby Lorredan on 16 Jul 2008, 07:21

Looking for some ideas on why Death in other thread was unnamed- I came across some years old scribblings, from when I was into Classic myths. There was some items that were interesting in regards to this deck.

Mors is the Roman personification of Death- Violent Death and according to Hesoid, Mors strikes his brother Sleep. Mors lives between Deception and Old Age. Mors father is the Night (Nox). Death comes as a Healing, a Paean- delivering man from the pain and sorrows of life. It is time to go.

Hyginus explains it this way.......

"From Nox (Night) and Erebus [were born]: Fatum (Fate) [Moros], Senectus (Old Age) [Geras], Mors (Death) [Thanatos], Letum (Dissolution) [Ker], Continentia (Moderation), Somnus (Sleep), Somnia (Dreams), Amor (Love) - that is Lysimeles, Epiphron (Prudence), Porphyrion, Epaphus, Discordia (Discord), Miseria (Misery), Petulantia (Wantonness), Nemesis (Envy), Euphrosyne (Good Cheer), Amicitia (Friendship), Misericordia (Compassion), Styx (Hatred); the three Parcae (Fates), namely Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos; the Hesperides."

So the Traitor may not be the traitor but Mors and his Brother Sleep.

Look like any most beautiful deck to you?
~Lorredan~
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Re: The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

Postby Lorredan on 18 Jul 2008, 09:38

Ok Roubret, I know you are on a magic carpet ride, and will be busy for a little while- so I thought I would talk to the bot and any others that are interested.
I have been contemplating this 'Novelty' deck since you posted the images and it has left me wondering more than a few things. It seems to me that the people that have written about it have forced it into the pattern of Tarot (22) when really it is not? I am interested in patterns of Tarot and have noticed pairings and columns in the Tarot de Marseille, that seem other than a journey or a cycle. The case of Tarot de Marseille and Scrognevi Chapel was one diversion with Vices and Virtues and a pattern of the Church being one type of pattern. Another was the pattern of Diviners and Prognosticators seemingly addressing Fortune through Divining like Astronomy and Planetary influence.
1. The Mountebank the Charlatan- he who could cheat Fate or fool others/ Mercury
2. The Sybil the Prophetess with her book (Christians see her as Charity, Charitas/Mother Church)
3. Juno- she who warns
4. Jupiter- he who thunders/ Jupiter
5. Pope- he who teaches(Catholics see him as Faith)
6. Concorde/Peace/Love/Venus
7. Discord/War/Hate/Mars
8. Universal Justice
9. Time/Age/Kronus/Prophet/Saturn
10. Fortuna/The Wheel of Change
11. Fortitude/Rhea
12. Hanged Man/Traitor/Spiritual Death
13. Death/Physical Death
14. Temperance
15. Chaos/ Bondage to material things
16. Destruction
17. Hope
18. Moon/ Lunar calender/ Moon
19. Sun/ Solar Calender/ Sun
20. Prudence/Wisdom/Providence/Foresight/Prudent anticipation
21. World/ The arena of our luck both good and bad/ Earth.
Now this Mitelli deck seems to saying something totally different. This deck seems to follow Hesoid's Theogany of the Earth and Sky giving birth to the givers of good and bad things and includes what seems, is the second generation of Titans; explaining, maybe how the world government came to be. Continually the use of allegory to reconcile Pagan concepts with a Christian theme seems the 'lot' of Tarot 22 to me. It was a constant theme of the Renaissance it seems. The words of Bob Dylan came to mind as I was considering the deck.
Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

~Lorredan~
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts
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Re: The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

Postby Lorredan on 18 Jul 2008, 10:32

From the Heliconian Muses let us begin to sing, who hold the great and holy mount of Helicon, and dance on soft feet about the deep-blue spring and the altar of the almighty son of Cronos, and, when they have washed their tender bodies in Permessus or in the Horse's Spring or Olmeius, make their fair, lovely dances upon highest Helicon and move with vigorous feet. Hesoid Theogany
The Magician Card 1 ?

First she drew near holy Cythera, and from there, afterwards, she came to sea-girt Cyprus, and came forth an awful and lovely goddess, and grass grew up about her beneath her shapely feet. Her gods and men call Aphrodite, ..... And with her went Eros, and comely Desire followed her at her birth at the first and as she went into the assembly of the gods. This honour she has from the beginning, and this is the portion allotted to her amongst men and undying gods, -- the whisperings of maidens and smiles and deceits with sweet delight and love and graciousness.
The Chariot 7 and Love Card 6 ?
Also deadly Night bare Nemesis (Indignation) to afflict mortal men, and after her....
(Nemesis with wheel expresses the indignation of the Gods at Human presumption, and corrected the balance when Fortune favoured any Mortal.)
WOF Card 11 ?
I could run through the Theogany like this and tell you Judgement is Eos The Dawn who Trumpets her brother Helious/Apollo The Sun-The shining one; Selene the Bringer of light- The Moon. We see her as Diana Lucifera.
There is Epimetheus (Foolish after- thought) his Brothers Atlas, Promethes(Fore- thought) who gave fire to mankind and is sometimes seen as the Evening Star. There is Menoetius another brother known as 'ruined Strength', smitten by Zeus with a Lightening bolt. Oceanus who holds the gift of Prophecy and is God of the Waters that circled the Earth with Trident and Serpent. There is Mor who is violent Death and hammers Sleep and Thanatos who is Death and senectus/Geras who is Old age, who is oft mixed up with Vulcan who is Lame.
So you see I find it hard to force these Characters into the usual Tarot de Marseille pattern. There are no names or numbers to give order.
~Lorredan~
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Re: The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

Postby Lorredan on 19 Jul 2008, 12:28

I think I did not explain myself very well.

I have read many articles about the origins of Tarot- and they seem to say that as a group of Tarot card order of 22 (as we see in the Tarot de Marseille) there does not seem to be any group of images that explains it (the group) It is not the Church and it is not this or that- but it is the triumph of Death or the Triumph of Fame or the fall of Princes etc etc. I have also read that it could have been a game devised from various sources like Dante, Dans Macabre, Petrarch, humanist thought, processions, mystery plays, mystery religions and initiations, emblem books; and then all grouped together.
I like many others have looked at lots of things- Civil Government, Church diagrams, Vices and Virtues, and true it does seem like a hodge-podge of a cosmology- except in Astronomy or ancient Greek Mythology.
The one place I have seen these ideas all in one place (apart from a fresco in Siena) is in the writings that we have of Hesoid that remain. Hesiod's writings serve as a major source on Greek mythology, farming techniques, archaic Greek astronomy and ancient time-keeping. All the characters of Tarot are in his poems; except the 4 human Gods The Pope/Papesse/Emperor and Empress. Maybe the first 150 years before titles and numbers appeared the order was different- maybe all that remains of this order is that the Angel/World/Begatto/Matto/ Sun and Moon get the highest points in the game, and the states of Man get the lowest. Then along the way the contrast of the Angel that heralds the Dawn Eos and the earthly counterpart Bagatto who beats the drum and sings in echo, are the first pair of the game.
~Lorredan~
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Re: The Most Beautiful Deck in the World?

Postby Lorredan on 20 Jul 2008, 05:15

Reconciling Classic myth with Christianity using this Mitelli Deck as the example.

*****1*****21****20****19****18****17*****6*****7*****8******9*****The Golden Age
0************************************************************************10 Nemesis/Tyche with 0 as Epimetheus
*****2******3******4*****5****16*****15****14****13***12****11***** The Iron Age
Bagetto/Atlas/Eos/Helios/Selene/Prometheus/Eros/Aphrodite/Themis/Geras:Time
Pope/Empress/Emperor/Pope/Menoetius/Oceanus/Lethe/Thantos/Mors:Hypnos/Eris:Ate

How it maybe got mixed/twisted up ;) in numbered order.
Draw a figure 8 on it's side on the above diagram starting at one crossing at 6/16. You end up with the cards in the order they are now. Cool eh? :?

The Golden Age was an era in which humanity lived like gods, nearly immortal, without wars (because there were no nations or governments or weapons) and without need or appetite of any kind. It didn't last.
Hesiod finds himself in the Iron Age. During this age humans live an existence of toil and misery. Children dishonor their parents, brother fights with brother and the social contract between guest and host is forgotten. During this age might makes right, and bad men use lies to be thought good. At the height of this age, humans no longer feel shame or indignation at wrongdoing and the gods will have completely foresaken humanity: "there will be no help against evil." Hesoid spoke of five Ages= 5 suits????

Ovid's Four Ages does not have a Heroic age and in the Iron Age, men demarcate nations with boundaries; they learn the arts of navigation and mining; they are warlike, greedy and impious. Truth, modesty and loyalty are nowhere to be found.

Well it's a thought eh? :roll:
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