This appears to be a circular argument. You want to prove she is Ecclesia; you can't first assume Bembo intended to invent Ecclesia, and then use the card as proof that he succeeded in his intention. The card exists, we don't know what Bembo or his audience called it.
My explanation for the vestimental contrast with the Pope in the same deck is that Bembo was taking pains not to mislead people into thinking he was painting a sacrilege, either the Queen of Heaven in a deck of cards, or Pope Joan. That Bembo's popess looks like the allegory for the Church, Ecclesia (Catholica), that would begin appearing a century later in the wake of the Council of Trent and the Counter-Reformation, is a coincidence (another such striking coincidence I saw recently escapes me at the moment, I didn't realize it would come in handy as an example).
On the other hand, if you wanted to argue that she represents Fides, "The Faith," that would be a less anachronistic title, and for the papal crown there is precedent in Giotto, although a lot of time separates Bembo from Giotto, with no apparent evolutionary links in between. But the absence of explicit evidence here is not a weighty argument, since, as always, so much has been lost, and we have all seen only a fraction of what still exists in any case. Also, "Fides" as one of the Theological Virtues does of course exist, although not as an explicit "Popess" with the identifying feature of the papal crown, and the canonical version has the chalice and host. Later allegories of Ecclesia and Fides are conflated.
Two of Hurst's Popess collages -
I can only quote myself from last year in this thread -But we of course differ as to why that is so - Faith, with essentially the same attribute of the cross-staff in the CY, wouldn't exist in the same deck with Eccelsia as being too similar. You argue she was originally one of two males (which brings us back to the Papi thread). In my favor, the CY Faith trump exists before Bembo's creation (and all of the theologicals are replaced in the PMB); by contrast, there simply are no two popes anywhere in the 15th century. I've also presented contemporary evidence, 1455, for a comparable Ecclesia in this thread - you have none for two popes with two emperors ("papi") in the 15th century.
viewtopic.php?t=1363#p20717 (a post above that is good too - viewtopic.php?t=1363#p20687 )When I see a male pope and a female pope, and a male emperor and a female emperor, I see two popes and two emperors. The differentiation among them by sex is an artistic convention. There are other ways to make them distinct, including abandoning papal and imperial insignia on two of them.
That is, to reiterate, I do not take differences among the papi to imply that an internal hierarchy must have existed. The Bolognese papi, in Alla Torre and Mitelli, are clearly distinct, merely not by gender. Other gestures and attributes do the work. If the equal-papi rule were present in Milanese play of the 1440s and later, there is no reason to assume it would leap out of the iconography for us, any more than the presence of the Fool tells us whether he was an excuse or not, or whether he and the Bagatto were wild cards that could be used in making combinations. The rules are not in the pictures. The papi are a group, that is all, we don't know from that how they were played.
So, if the Ur-Tarot were found, complete, I presume that it would be printed from woodcut, not very large (not as large as modern standard Tarots like the Tarot de Marseille for instance), that it bears no inscriptions like titles or numbers, and that, at a minimum, it would depict the papi as two popes, identified by crowns, book (or cross), and keys; and two emperors, identified as such by their crowns, and other imperial insignia like scepter, and orb. Since Alla Torre shows two beardless popes, I'm going to presume it was always this way in Bologna, and thus the Ur-Tarot; both can be taken as popesses. I would argue that this ambiguity was intolerable to more refined clients and artists and impossible in larger pictures, especially paintings, and thus led to clearer and sexed depictions, as well as to the bearded and beardless distinctions sometimes seen. I would argue that this process is analogous to how female valets come and go in the same regional styles at different times and in different places.
To me, this is sufficient explanation for how the female papi, Popess and Empress, came to be.
(searching "allegory" "ecclesia" brought up this passage, which looks like an interesting book - https://books.google.fr/books?id=dV9_kQ ... 22&f=false
Here's an image I hadn't seen before, from 1642 -https://www.alamy.com/allegory-of-the-c ... 22454.html )