I am now going to see what happens when I extend my discussion beyond the numbers 1-10 to include the cards numbered 11-14 in the Sola-Busca, in each suit. I am referring to the court cards, Pages through Kings. Unlike most decks, the numbers are actually on the cards. For the Knights, Queens, and Kings, there are also the names of classical heroic figures inscribed on the pictures. For Pages, there is just the number.
Here there is some literature specific to the SB: notably, there is the material on Tarotpedia and the supplements to it on this thread by Marco, viewtopic.php?f=12&t=530&start=0#p7367.
I will start with the pages. In Neopythagoreanism, the numbers start over after 10. Ten is the totality, the All. Eleven is just the One again. So pages are the beginnings of something: they are the apprentices in the four trades shown by the suit signs, namely, soldiering, monetary transactions, and two others that are not so clear. Batons in the pip cards are displayed much like swords are, but carved out of wood; they are clubs, in other words. Clubs or cudgels were the weapons granted to peasants, who were forbidden to carry swords. A cup or chalice could be for drinking or for receiving the sacrament. Here are four other pages, showing some of these uses, these are "Italian, 15th or 16th century," according to Kaplan, Vol. 2, where they appear.
Coins is holding his suit-symbol up as though it were a piece of merchandise he were selling. He is an apprentice to either a merchant, whose wares he sells, or a banker, whose money he seeks to loan. Cups is a drinker, and the other two are soldiers, swords more aggressive than batons.
And here they are the SB pages:
Swords plays a lute; Coins plays with birds, at least one of which is a falcon on its perch, [while carrying a purse--part in red, here and elsewhere, added 10/25/10]; Cups is tending either a fire or "blooming plants" (Di Vicenzo p. 54) coming out of his suit-symbol, while carrying a purse; and Batons is walking somewhere, carrying a purse by its strings, what looks like a letter in his boot, and a stiletto in his belt.
There is also the emotional mood conveyed by the bodies and especially faces of the young men here. Swords and Coins look rather sad or at best contemplative. Cups is simply observing, perhaps with a certain amount of wonderment. And Batons is rather jaunty, with a slight smile.
Each of the attributes means something. But what? Marco relates them to the four temperaments.(All images are either from Marco at viewtopic.php?f=12&t=530&start=0#p7367 , or the link that Marco provided, http://community.livejournal.com/art_links/1698327.html or as otherwise indicated.)
The lute is an attribute of sanguinity, in Ripa's Iconologia, 1611 (p. 86):
Marco says that the boy holding the cup has the phlegmatic attribute of being elegantly dressed. He does not look to me much more elegantly dressed than the others. And I have not seen where that is an attribute of that temperament. In fact in one image I found (http://www.designboom.com/history/a_m2.html), she is dressed in rags.
After all, she is lethargic.
At http://emblem.libraries.psu.edu/Ripa/Im ... pa015a.htm and http://emblem.libraries.psu.edu/Ripa/Im ... pa015b.htm (found by Bernice on ATF), the phlegmatic figure wears a fur coat, but it is not described as an elegant one; and the black cloth Ripa says he has around his head is far from elegant. He wears fur because it is cold and doesn't want to catch a cold, with all the phlegm involved. Or maybe he's already sick. The phlegmatic temperament is cold and moist.
What I see in the SB Page of Cups is either a fire or Di Vincenzo's "blooming plants," along with a purse. Fire is an attribute of choler, as in Ripa (p. 84):
Purses signify melancholia. Ripa again (p.89):
I am not sure what blooming plants would mean. Since plants bloom in the spring, I would guess the sanguine temperament. [The red color continues to mean I added this part on 10/25/10.]
In Batons, the purse again is a sign of melancholia. I cannot associate the letter in the boot with any temperament. It might mean that he is delivering a message, but that's just a guess.
There are other problems with what we have so far. If three of the figures have purses. are all of them melancholy?
Also, sometimes the purse seems to be associated with water (the wavy lines below), i.e. the phlegmatic temperament:
Another problem: you can see above that falcons as well as lutes were associated with the sanguine temperament. For another pertaining to falcons, here is a 15th century woodcut of all four temperaments reproduced by Laurinda Dixon, Bosch, p. 81.
Also, as Marco observes, sometimes the lute seems to be an attribute of the phlegmatic temperament. Here is an example I found, from https://eee.uci.edu/clients/bjbecker/Pl ... ture5.html:
Moreover, the suit-signs themselves suggest, to some people, specific temperaments. The page's cup, in the 16th century Italian card I showed earlier, is for holding liquids; and water is associated with the phlegmatic temperament. Water is also the phlegmatic temperament in the woodcut I already posted, there associated with the calming effect of saying the Rosary. For convenience, here is the woodcut again.
In addition, the shape of the cup may be functioning as a hieroglyph. Such a vessel, with one narrow spout, occurs in the Hypnerotomachia, where it means "little by little," according to Hornung (Myth of Egypt and its Hieroglyphs, p. 68); such a meaning aptly describes the slowness of the phlegmatic temperament.
Coins, the objects in purses, are associated, in this woodcut, with misers, who are melancholy.
Swords are associated with anger, i.e. choler, as in the same woodcut.
These suit assignments are not the only ones possible. There is also Gosselin, 1582, quoted by Ross (viewtopic.php?f=12&t=530&start=0#p7412); but his correlations are to the ordinary French-style suits, a bit far afield for the Sola-Busca. In any correlation of French to Italian suits (there are two, depending on whether diamonds = coins or batons), they come out as a third system. Let us not complicate things further!
So our SB Page of Swords is both choleric (as sword) and sanguine (lute); Cups is phlegmatic (water, possibly purse), maybe melancholic (purse), and either choleric (fire on cup) or sanguine (if plant on cup); Coins is both sanguine (falcon) and melancholic (as money: suit symbol and purse; and Batons is melancholic by attribute (purse), but his face says sanguine.
I think that at least part of a solution to this dilemma is in something that Ripa says about symbols:
Amongst the animals, some of them serve as attributes to different and even opposite subjects: for example, the lion is an attribute of Anger, and also to Clemency and Generosity. To justify this apparent contradiction, let us consider, that the ancients were of opinion that animals possessed not only passions, but even a kind of reason; thus observing, that nothing is more terrible than the rage of a lion; they have therefore given it for an attribute to anger; but they have painted this animal in the character of mildness, when applied as an attribute to clemency and to generosity; supposing him to have a greatness of mind, which may in some measure be compared with these gifts of the human soul. This may also be inferred from the natural effect of the two virtues, the property of which is to mitigate the most ferocious temper, and to truimph over the most envenomed hatred. (Ripa, Iconology, 1777 translation, introductory discourse p. iv)
So perhaps we may postulate that the attribute is meant to affect the young man's temperament with its opposite, and so achieve a kind of balance in the soul.
Thus the choleric individual, as indicated by his suit-sign of Swords, plays on his lute to dissipate his anger and achieve the calm of the phlegmatic or sanguine character.
The phlegmatic person, indicted by his suit-sign of Cups, could be seen the same way: he puts a fire in his cup, so as to warm himself up, give him more dry and hot energy to combat the cold and moist, and so make himself more active and energized. Or he is more straightforwardly watching a plant bloom little by little.
The melancholic person, indicated by his suit sign of coins, plays with falcons so as to achieve a more sanguine outlook.
And the sanguine person, Batons by a process of elimination but also indicated by his cheerful expression, will soon be robbed of his purse, and his message will be sold to the highest bidder for information. His stick and his stiletto, however secure they make him feel, are no match for robbers armed with swords, spears, or even bigger clubs. He will become melancholic, as his purse predicts, but also less naive.
At least that is one way of interpreting the cards. But it does not come out with the same suit assignments as Marco does. He has studied the attributes of the other court cards and come up with a different set of suit-temperament correspondences, for Coins and Batons.
So perhaps we will have to change how we tell two parts of the story. The depressed young man plays with his birds, and the coins or discs signify his resulting richness of spirit, sanguinity. We identify the result, rather than the initial condition. with the card. It is the same with Batons. The young man with the purse will still be robbed, and his baton, as an ineffectual weapon against swords, signifies his resulting melancholia.
However we tell the story, there are important psychological lessons to be learned by a person just staring out in life. And these four cards do, somehow, seem to be about the four temperaments.