Jean Noblet Tarot

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Jean Noblet Tarot

Postby EUGIM on 10 Jul 2008, 23:07

-May be my good friend Scorpio Yves could help to me surely here... ( To translate to inches also )

1-I received from a very warm friend a deck as a gift the deck of Jean Noblet .
2-It s measures are 6,2 centimetres to 10,2 centimetres
3-If this deck is the oldest known ...
Why,when,for what the Marseilles pattern changed its form ?

:?:

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Re: JEAN NOBLET DECK

Postby jmd on 11 Jul 2008, 11:50

Some of the earliest decks are far more elongated, and in many ways, the ratio and size of the Noblet appears to have taken due consideration of ease of handling.

It certainly appears quite at odds with the other Parisian decks of the period (the 'Paris' and the Vieville), and also at odds with both the hand-painted decks of earlier times, the extant Bologna (that are far more elongated, seemingly reflecting more their derivation from the very long and narrow Mamluk decks), and even the various uncut sheets.

It is these latter, to my eyes, that appear to exhibit the closest ratio to the Noblet is the Cary Sheet.
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Re: JEAN NOBLET DECK

Postby EUGIM on 23 Jul 2008, 20:59

Hello JMD...
1-Yves drove my attention to François Heri another "hand pocket"
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Re: JEAN NOBLET DECK

Postby robert on 23 Jul 2008, 21:40

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Re: JEAN NOBLET DECK

Postby EUGIM on 23 Jul 2008, 22:07

-Hello Santa ...
1-I can t link there because I was fired out by Moonbow...
2-I m like an "espalda mojada " (Mexicans who try to pass the border my friend )
3-Why ? // I really I don t know R...
4-A friend of mine sent to me the Jean Noblet deck // AMAZING !!!!!!!!!!!


-Till the next ...
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Re: JEAN NOBLET DECK

Postby robert on 24 Jul 2008, 06:01

From that thread:

---

Sometime in the early 1700s François Heri made a "Tarot of Besançon" (TdB) which shows a strong similarity to the Jean Noblet Tarot from around 1650.

The Encyclopedia of Tarot, Volume II, by Stuart Kaplan shows the deck on page 318.

As typical in a TdB, the Popess and Pope have been replaced with Juno and Jupiter. Also typical is the treatment the Devil card with his hairy legs and minions in profile. The Hermit too, differs from typical Tarot de Marseille iconography. As seen in some other decks, the Sun card has two "towers" on either side.

But the fun part is seeing where Heri and Noblet agree and disagree. One strong similarity is the proportion of the cards themselves... shorter and wider than "typical" Tarot de Marseille cards.

On the Fool, the whole cat/dog/whatever is pictured, but unlike the Noblet, the Fool's genitals are not exposed.

The Bateleur has his hand in tact, but is that a wand? And are the angles the same as the Noblet? Notice the ground also is different. Are those buttons on the front of his clothing?

Like the Noblet, the Emperor looks to the right, but notice the back of the chair behind him.

On the Heri, the faces on the shoulder of the Charioteer are clearly defined.

La Mort is titled La Mort.. like the Noblet!

There's a lot to compare and take in, I'm curious as to what you think? What do you see?

Here's a scan of the Heri page:
http://www.tarothistory.com/images/heri.jpg

And here's the Noblet:
http://www.tarot-history.com/Jean-Noblet/jean-noblet-page-3.html

---

King of Cups

FIRST ROW
Nicholas Conver (Tarot de Marseille), J.B. Benois (TdB), Jean Dodal (Tarot de Marseille)

Image

SECOND ROW
François Heri (TdB), Jean Noblet (Tarot de Marseille)

ImageImage

---

Valet of Swords

FIRST ROW
Nicholas Conver (Tarot de Marseille), J.B. Benois (TdB), Jean Dodal (Tarot de Marseille)

Image

SECOND ROW
François Heri (TdB), Jean Noblet (Tarot de Marseille)

ImageImage

jmd wrote:Before moving on to similarities and details with the Atouts, let's look closely at those Kings and Pages, for they show, to my mind at any rate, why it can be so important to have access to early images.

In 'gross' terms, they all (I mean of the same card) appear ever so similar. The similarity suggests, as far as I'm concerned in this case at least, that the later ones draw on earlier ones as their model - lucky some of the current copyright laws weren't in existence at the time!

What the Heri and the Noblet show, however, is, for example, how that clasp holding the cloak on the King becomes, in the 'newer' decks (Dodal and Conver at least, and lost in the Benois), something rather misunderstood or unclear: is it some kind of 'door' ... or what? The Noblet (as is the Heri) becomes essential in understanding those details and not allow one's flights of fancy take the symbolism beyond its intended meaning - this, of course, does not prevent other meanings arising in the context of a reading!

The Valets similarly shows how clothing details can become lost with time: in this case, the 'pedal-pusher' long-shorts-&-socks with tie become long-johns in the newer decks, and similarly the upper-arm coverings, distinct to the lower-arm ones in the earlier Noblet and Heri designs become rather 'bland' (in comparison) in the 'later' decks of Dodal, Benois and Conver.

Where the Heri is especially useful, however, is also in seeing that the Noblet was not an exceptional singularity, but rather a style that must have had its impact on the design that comes later and further standardises the Marseille-type.

A deck that is well worth looking at in more detail - especially as we now all have access to the image Le Pendu posted of the Heri!


---

jmd wrote:Before moving on to similarities and details with the Atouts, let's look closely at those Kings and Pages, for they show, to my mind at any rate, why it can be so important to have access to early images.


I agree. I think we're fooling ourselves if we think that one deck, or even one family of decks, has retained all the iconography of what earlier decks *might* have displayed. For me, I started with the Noblet, Dodal and Conver, then brought in the Vieville, then more and more decks as I found that there seemed to be little "bits and pieces" scattered throughout them.

Now granted, we're talking about a hypothetical, clearer design. Maybe the Noblet, or the Conver, or the Dodal really is very close to the "earliest Tarot de Marseille design".

But what I find I like things from different decks. Some of them may not be historically accurate, other might... but I do find that I have my preferences.

Take the King of Cups for instance. You point out the "door" or "lid", which is never really clear when you look at the Dodal or the Conver... but looking at the Noblet and the Heri, it's clearly a broach. The Vieville backs that up. Looking at the design of it though, it seems that there should be a smaller circle within the larger. I can't tell if it is there on the Noblet or not, but it is certainly there on the Heri. In this case.. this little scan of this one remaining deck (that I know of) that is similar to the Noblet sheds a little light on what is depicted.

But notice the floor patterns, and the patterns on the throne as well. What's going on here? Every card is different. On the floor, Noblet and Heri indicate some type of square tiles. Conver and Dodal.. well.. they're kind of a mess aren't they? Are those floorboards? Benois also thinks there's a pattern, but his are diamond shaped rather than square!

And what of the pattern on the throne? Here, Heri says "It's a diamond pattern", and everyone else seems to hint at it. Does Heri actually have the closest pattern to an older/lost style? Or is he just making it up?

Notice also the "skull cap" on the Heri and Noblet.. the round parts hanging over his ear. Very similar. Dodal and Benois have it too, but smaller on one side. Conver has it only on one side.

What is that "tail" sticking out on the right of the card? To me, I'd guess it is the tassel on a pillow. All of the cards indicate that it should be there, but the Benois only barely still shows it, and if you didn't know about it from the others, it might be lost. It might be something else as well.. but I'm guessing a pillow.

Look at the feet. Here's another difference, and one that I personally find possibly important. Why do the Dodal and Conver have the foot pointing sideways rather than downwards? :)

Oh I WISH we had color scans of the Heri!!!

jmd wrote:The Valets similarly shows how clothing details can become lost with time: in this case, the 'pedal-pusher' long-shorts-&-socks with tie become long-johns in the newer decks, and similarly the upper-arm coverings, distinct to the lower-arm ones in the earlier Noblet and Heri designs become rather 'bland' (in comparison) in the 'later' decks of Dodal, Benois and Conver.

Where the Heri is especially useful, however, is also in seeing that the Noblet was not an exceptional singularity, but rather a style that must have had its impact on the design that comes later and further standardises the Marseille-type.

A deck that is well worth looking at in more detail


Indeed.

Looking at the Valet, I think we see somewhere the Noblet missed something.. and that's the brim of the hat. All of the others have the brim on the right side of the sword as well. It's not surprising that Heri would have "corrected" that if he had known, but it's also possible.. and this is a guess, but one that has important ramifications... that Heri was working from a Source similar to the Noblet source... but one that either had some of the iconography in tact that is lost in the Noblet, or he was perhaps a better copiest.

I also really like the cape on the Heri. On the Noblet, it seems too pointy, and on the Conver, Benois and Dodal, it seems confused. Heri's just flows right to, to my eye.

The ties at the knees of the Heri and Noblet.. well, ya gotta love em. What a dashing figure this Valet of Swords is!

Notice the top of the sword sheath? It's pretty clear in the Noblet, Benois, and Heri, but confused in the Dodal. Conver probably has it clearly, but this version isn't colored to show it. Have I mentioned how sloppy Dodal is lately? ;)

Examining the Valet's hair really shows relationships. Heri and Noblet agree. Benois and Dodal agree. Conver is different.

I find the collar interesting. Noblet, Benois and Heri don't have any buttons on the color. Dodal has one, kind of centered. Conver has two.

Also the buttons on the jacket differ. Dodal, Conver and Benois all have many buttons running up the center, but Benois has a whole, trimmed center panel. Noblet probably has a similar panel, I can't tell for the Heri. Noblet has only three buttons.

So just looking at these two cards, I can see things by examining them as a group which might suggest an earlier model, (or might not! .. but), I think it does. All in all, the differences are TINY.. and the "gist" of the card has remained extremely consistent.

---

The Lover

FIRST ROW
Jean Dodal (Tarot de Marseille), J.B. Benois (TdB), Nicholas Conver (Tarot de Marseille)

Image

SECOND ROW
François Heri (TdB), Jean Noblet (Tarot de Marseille)

ImageImage

I think this is one of the most startling cards when comparing the Heri with the Noblet, and frankly, when comparing the Tarot de Marseille to the TdB.

Like in the other examples, the relationship between the Heri and the Noblet is clear. The relationship is also pretty clear between the Dodal and the Benois.

None of the cards, frankly, are terribly clear. The Noblet, Dodal, and Benois all show the blindfolded cupid, and the Heri probably does as well. They also show the cupid with an exposed butt, the Conver is entirely different.

But what is really shocking is the clouds!!! What's going on here?!?!
In both TdB cases, the cupid is floating on clouds. Now, this might just be a "stylistic" thing with the TdB.. but I wonder. Frankly, it makes sense to me. The Noblet actually looks like it's MISSING the clouds, and the way the zig-zag is drawn is just funky. Did the TdB add the clouds? Or did the Tarot de Marseille lose them?

Also, note the feet. Why would Dodal and Benois have chopped off the feet? ;)

The Fool

FIRST ROW
Jean Dodal (Tarot de Marseille), J.B. Benois (TdB), Nicholas Conver (Tarot de Marseille)

Image

SECOND ROW
François Heri (TdB), Jean Noblet (Tarot de Marseille)

ImageImage

THIRD ROW
Jacques Vieville (Belgian Tarot)
Image

---

Moonbow* on Aeclectic wrote:Since the Fool has been mentioned, I would like to point out a few similarities between the Heri and Noblet which are not in most (if any) other Marseilles decks. For me, one of the most noticeable things about the Fool is his legs and whether they are bare with a torn piece of stocking hanging down, or whether he wears layers of stockings. Some cards show blue or green underneath his fleshy stockings. Looking at decks such as the Visconti and the Charles VI, it seems that the Fool was likely in rags and only partially covered, at best, so to see him with bare legs seems a better depiction.


I totally agree. Some of the images from this thread show this too:
The "d'Este Tarot" Fool with exposed genitalia:
http://tarothistory.com/images/deste_fool.jpg

As well as the "Charles VI Tarot" which seems (to me), to show children gathering rocks to throw at the Fool, and the Fool in a rather "exposed" state:
http://expositions.bnf.fr/renais/images/3/035.jpg

Moonbow* on Aeclectic wrote:The Noblet and Heri both show a similar partial stocking hanging down his leg and they both also show the whole of the cat, doing his utmost to climb the leg and grab something! In fact the cat's hind left leg is grabbing at the Fool's ankle to try and get a grip and then climb up. I don't know of any other deck that shows this as most of them seem to show the cat (or dog type cat in some cases) as just ripping the tights or perhaps playfully jumping up, but no hind leg. I wonder how the Fool can keep walking with all this going on.

Someone recently posted another animal for a possible identification of the animal on the Fool card, and like a fool, I've already forgotten what it was and where it was. It IS odd how much like a cat these images look. Even the Conver, when taken as a group, looks more like a cat to me than a dog! There seems to be some implied striping on it as well, (or maybe I'm just focusing on that)? Odd that Benois breaks from the Dodal and Conver and changes the orientation of the creature.

Moonbow* on Aeclectic wrote:Both the Heri and Noblet also clearly show the Fool's walking stick with a head on the top, as has been mentioned elsewhere in threads. I noticed that the Rodes Sanchez deck also depicts this, whereas the Vieville shows the Jester's stick being the one the Fool is carrying on his shoulder rather than the walking stick. So, I wonder what happened to the top of the walking stick, why would it not be included on many other decks, and could the 'spoon' of the carrying stick in some decks have been an adaptation of the head? Would it be right to assume that this is the same type of tool that a Jester's would carry about? Was the Fool also an entertainer of sorts, like Le Bateleur? As for the purse or sack that the Fool carries, the Heri shows a more realistic adaption of this then the Noblet does, at least to me. Unfortunately, looking at the Rodes Sanchez again (not sure why, I've hardly had this deck out of it's box since buying it), it shows the carrying stick over the left and not right shoulder! Perhaps this is a good modern day example of how artists can have license when interpreting patterns.

I love the little head on the Noblet and Heri, and also wonder if we lost it on other versions, or whether it was just added on these two decks as a stylistic touch?

As for the spoon, I'm probably in disagreement with many on this one; but I suspect the Heri and Noblet show a more accurate version of what's happening here. I can see how the criss-crossing strap on the Heri and Noblet might be "misinterpreted" as a spoon.


Moonbow* on Aeclectic wrote:His hat also shows similarities between the Heri and Noblet, with it's shape and two bauble or bell tipped pieces at the back. Other Marseilles decks show the hat as a different shape entirely, although some still show the bells.

Yup! One of my favorite touches on the Noblet, and I'm happy to see it on the Heri as well, is the bell hanging from the cap of the Fool, the bottom one, that crosses at the same level as the stick. The Heri and Noblet show it as part of the hat of the Fool. The Conver, Dodal, and Benois all show it, but it is disconnected, and hard to tell why it is there, should it be part of the collar?

And the collar is different too. Only the Conver has bells on a pointy collar, the rest show no bells on a rounded collar. Benois loses the bells on the belt, they others all show four.

Moonbow* on Aeclectic wrote:I can see more similarities than differences between these two decks judging by the few cards that I have been looking at recently, even though Heri seems to have chickened out with the penis!


PENIS!

INDEED! The penis is the most remarkable thing about the Noblet Fool. No one else dares to show it. Did Noblet make it up? Did the other's chicken out? Did tastes change? Do penises go in and out of fashion?

I've often commented that we shouldn't make too much of one deck's iconography, and that we need to take them as a group... but I'm completely ignoring my advice here and declaring YES to Penis! Long live the Noblet Fool!

---

The Fool

Since Moonbow* mentioned the Rhodes/Sanchez, I thought this might be a great opportunity to discuss four of the recent "restorations" or "recreations" of the Tarot de Marseille that have been released in the past several years.

FIRST ROW
Camoin/Jodorowsky, Kris Hadar, Rhodes/Sanchez

Image

SECOND ROW
Jean-Claude Flornoy

Image

Flornoy intends to reproduce the Noblet as closely as possible, but the others focus mostly on the Conver. Of the top three, it's no surprise that the Camoin is most similar to the Conver deck, the Camion family have been making tarots based on the Conver pattern for centuries. Kris Hadar seems to pick up the "exposed" bottom from the Noblet, but is mostly similar to the Conver. Rhodes/Sanchez dares to break away a bit. They pick up the head of the jester on walking stick. They also pick up the bell attached to the hat, and at the very top of the card, but mostly they too stick to the Conver iconography.

ALL of them are wonderful to have, and we're fortunate to have artists bringing the Tarot de Marseille into reproduction and greater awareness. When looking at the iconography, it's always fascinating to try to imagine why the artist may have made the choices they did.

---

PS. One very curious feature of the Conver is that the Fool has "number space" reserved, but unused, at the top. The Fool is unnumbered, but he's the only one of the originals with a reserved space on the card. I wonder why?

It's no surprise that Camoin/Jodorowsky, Kris Hadar, and Rhodes/Sanchez all picked up this feature as well. The Flornoy, being based on the Noblet, did not.

---
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Re: JEAN NOBLET DECK

Postby Bernice on 07 Aug 2008, 13:18

Thank you for that post. Throughly enjoyed your comparisons, your museings, and the pics.

Small comment. I happen to like the replacement of the Pope & Papess with Juno and Jupiter. Delightful!
Now you can all flame me - I don't care :P

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Re: JEAN NOBLET DECK

Postby Marcei on 13 Mar 2009, 00:03

Regarding the tights on Le Mat: You have solved what has long been a mystery to me and many others regarding the yellow moon shape under the cat/dog's paws on the Conver and the many other Marseilles decks that have repeated it. Thanks to your earlier discussion about the blending of the breeches and the stockings, that shape as well as the strange royal blue upper leg on the Noblet are now understandable. Apparently there were once both breeches and stockings, and the left side of the breeches, or its lining was apparenty yellow (hence the yellow moon shape). The right side may have once been a different color (dark blue on the Noblet). If both sides were pulled down, one would see the flesh colored buttocks exposed, leaving only the yellow moon on that left leg (the breeches should have extended to just below the knee, but that division line was apparently lost) causing confusion. Further adding to the confusion, Conver shows underwear in green so it appears that only the right side of the breeches has been torn. My guess is that at one time the stockings and breeches were in contrasting colors which would have allowed for good color distribution. I see now that an example like this exists in the 1820 Liguria-Piedmont IL PAZZO where the breeches are yellow and the stockings alternately blue and red. His pants, however, are not torn. Thank you for solving the mystery of the yellow moon!
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Re: JEAN NOBLET DECK

Postby Marcei on 13 Mar 2009, 01:02

A few more comments:

jmd,the other animal sometimes associated with LE FOV is the lynx or bobcat. I like that the animal is ambiguously rendered to allow for different interpretations.

Moonbow, in a quote from Aeclectic, questions whether the spoon shape on the stick of the Conver LE MAT was the result of a misunderstanding of the bands holding the bag in place. I don't believe this is the case for in early times country travelers sometimes carried a large spoon to fairs and other outdoor gatherings where they would dip from a common pot of cooking food. This kind of thing is described in a wonderful little novelette,Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley. It is set in the 6th Century and is based on historical research.

Finally, I have never been able to understand the Conver-style Fool's hat with its stiff yellow shapes and strange chevron-like designs rather than the usual festive points topped with bells. And what of the scallops and red rim? Because the Conver designs were so skillfully done, many of the minute details have significance, for example: Some believe the yellow “wing with red ball” is a reference to Mercury. Can anyone clarify the hat for me or is this info lost to history at present?
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Re: Jean Noblet Tarot

Postby robert on 05 Apr 2009, 00:03

Marcei wrote:A few more comments:

jmd,the other animal sometimes associated with LE FOV is the lynx or bobcat. I like that the animal is ambiguously rendered to allow for different interpretations.

Moonbow, in a quote from Aeclectic, questions whether the spoon shape on the stick of the Conver LE MAT was the result of a misunderstanding of the bands holding the bag in place. I don't believe this is the case for in early times country travelers sometimes carried a large spoon to fairs and other outdoor gatherings where they would dip from a common pot of cooking food. This kind of thing is described in a wonderful little novelette,Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley. It is set in the 6th Century and is based on historical research.

Finally, I have never been able to understand the Conver-style Fool's hat with its stiff yellow shapes and strange chevron-like designs rather than the usual festive points topped with bells. And what of the scallops and red rim? Because the Conver designs were so skillfully done, many of the minute details have significance, for example: Some believe the yellow “wing with red ball” is a reference to Mercury. Can anyone clarify the hat for me or is this info lost to history at present?


Hi Marcei,

I'm glad you made it to the forum, I hope you haven't been too lonely here.

I think the interesting thing is that the Noblet explains the bell on the staff as hanging from the hat, whereas the Dodal and Conver have the bell mysteriously there. It's interesting that Hadar tried to tie it back in through the back, and that the Rhodes Sanchez decided to attach it with a string. THey also added the bell at the top, being cut off in the image area which makes sense when you see the Noblet and the Heri. As for the Conver and Mercury, well, that strikes me as folklore, but then I like practical answers based on the actual decks.

I did find something interesting today. It's from a wonderful site by an amazing artist I recently stumbled across. On this site:http://misrulemockerymonstrosity.blogspot.com/ she has a page with a fool on it holding a "ladle": http://www.the-hermitage.org.uk/uploads/rima/dissertation/53(theoutsiderandtheconceptofothernesspage6).jpg with the description: "...a grinning fool in full attire with ass-eared hood and dagged tunic, holding a ladle, thought to be used for collecting alms" WOW! So.. maybe I've been wrong in dismissing it as not really a spoon after all!

Also she has a great page with a dog chasing an itinerant craftsman here:
http://www.the-hermitage.org.uk/uploads/rima/dissertation/28(themundaneandthedomesticpage4).jpg

I haven't read this yet, but I suspect it is full of treasures. Also see her art website here: http://www.the-hermitage.org.uk/

I was looking through it yesterday and was shocked to find a link to tarothistory.com on it! Talk about a small world!
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