Re: The Hermit

Lorredan wrote: I ask myself when looking at this card- how did the Late medieval Christian mind know what to regard as 'Truth' and how was that "Truth" arrived at?
... :-) ... "truth" is mostly connected to something, that somebody had in mind at given occasions and the simple truth about truth is, that truth is empty, and fire usually needs something else to burn ... for instance a peace of wood. This was likely so in 15th century, and it is so nowadays.
... :-) ... how could you imagine, that truth was ever different? Isn't that against all definitions?
The so-called "truth" of 15th century was so, that the earth was the middle of the universe, and the so-called truth of nowadays is different, but that's all only "so-called truth", which is actually "reigning opinion of the moment".

Re: The Hermit

I guess I was asking a rhetorical question Huck. :)
The Church told you what to believe as the 'truth' , and you are was the prevailing opinion of the moment.
One 'Truth' I was bought up with was that if I ate meat on Friday, it was a mortal sin and if I died in mortal sin- I would go to Hell. That 'Truth' no longer prevails. Friday is still 'fish and chips' day nevertheless.
Just as well Constantine did not include 'Bal the Dragon' in books for the Bible- and it is true it was one on offer; Constantine just got sick of the arguing and threw out Bal along with the Gospel of Judas and others that were considered anti -Christian.
True seems to be after whatever has happened, not before.
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: The Hermit

This belongs here, should anyone want to read about the prosecution of Salomone Bonaventura.
It is in regards to the blue button on th left shoulder of the Hermit card; my thoughts as to regarding the possibility of the HERMIT being a Jewish Lombard or Pawnbroker and Francesco Sforza's policy of Tolerance towards the Jewish community and the mercy he seemed to show towards them (and the pragmatism of money needed and where to get it) Huck kindly enlarged the Hermit card for me on the Moon thread. ... orence.pdf
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

North Italian images of Saturn as Vecchio card precursor

I could have put this post in any of several threads, such as the World thread (where much of the discussion took place) or "What's with the Concentration on Florence and Tarot?". However here will do, since it has to do with the Vecchio/Hermit card.

An argument in favor of tarot origin in Florence is that the figure of the old man with the hourglass does not appear anywhere before Florence c.1450. See Ross at viewtopic.php?f=23&t=404&p=12423&hilit=Hermit#p12423

Of course, absence of evidence does not constitute evidence of absence, when the playing field is not level, as it is not in Northern Italy before 1440. Both Milan and Bologna had major destruction, and in fact Ferrara, too, in the sense of its "delights", i.e. palaces for leisure activities outside the city walls. Florence kept the most intact.)

But perhaps some progress could be made if we looked at predecessor images for the Old Man with the Hourglass. By predecessor, I mean ones similar to the ones we see with hourglasses in the cassone panels and tarot cards, and illuminations after 1450.

The immediate predecessors of the man with the hourglass is the same figure, Time, holding a globe, which Simone Cohen, in the 2000 article that Ross cites (also cited in the present thread by Huck), we see in Florentine cassoni starting in 1442 (online at ... 5-time.jpg). But what was there before that? Unfortunately there are very few cassoni extant before then, and none with a Triumph of Time (all I know about is one with a Triumph of Fame from c. 1425-1430). And of course there are no extant tarot cards of this figure this early.

Here is what Cohen finds as predecessors: First, medieval cosmic diagrams showing a nude man in the middle as the microcosm. Second, the globe in representations of Apollo or Christ Cosmocrater. and (as armillary sphere) of the geocentric universe). And third, the hourglass in representations of Temperance 100 years earlier, in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena. She rejects Panofsky's proposal that images of Saturn are predecessors. But while not denying these others, I would agree with Panofsky and the applicability of the old Chronos/Cronos equivocation, at least in relation to the tarot card (our main concern, as opposed to illustrations of Petrarch), as also noted e.g. recently by Jim Schulman at viewtopic.php?f=23&t=404&p=12423&hilit=Hermit#p12307, or me at viewtopic.php?f=23&t=404&p=12423&hilit=Hermit#p12441.

Here I want to submit an image from the 14th century, perhaps Bologna, that ended up at some point, probably before the beginning of the 15th century, in Milan. It was bound with the Bartolomeo di Bartoli "Song of the Virtues and Liberal Arts" that some of us examined on another thread (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=862; the book itself is visible in full online at ... IOAAAAIAAJ). The style of illumination between the two is quite similar, and Dorez surmises that it was intended as a companion piece to the Virtues and Liberal Arts, adding the seven planets. It may have been left incomplete. Only three sheets remain, all illuminations: one of Saturn, one of Jupiter, and one of Mars (pp. 137-139 of Dorez). Jupiter sits on a throne holding a globe and scepter, wearing a hat like that of the Charles VI Pope, with the constellations Pisces and Sagittarius behind him. Just enough of Mars is done that we can see it is of a warrior on a horse with a sword and a spear. What I want to talk about here is the drawing of Saturn:


The question is, what is he holding, and how similar is the image to the one with the hourglass or globe? Here is a closer look

Of this illumination Dorez says (p. 84):
Prima si vede una splendida pittura a guazzo, che rappresenta su fondo
azzurro, come negli aifreschi di Giotto, il vecchio Saturno sotto la figura di un
mietitore toscano, con gran falce ricurva ed un boccale tra mani, circondato dai
raggi aurei del sole estivo. Ha i piedi ignudi, la camicia è aperta sul petto, e pare
che il contadino celeste ritorni dal lavoro quotidiano. In lettere gotiche di color
bianco si legge a destra : SATURNUS. Dietro di lui sono i due segni che
corrispondono al pianeta, cioè il Capricorno corrente nel cielo e l'Acquario in atto
di rovesciare la sua brocca piena, con un cappello che rassomiglia al petaso di
Mercurio. Anche le stelle intorno al Capricorno e all'Acquario sono messe ad oro.

Before us we see a beautiful painting in gouache, which is on the bottom blue, as in the frescoes of Giotto, old Saturn in the guise of a Tuscan reaper, with a large curved sickle and a jug in his hands, surrounded by golden rays of summer sun. His feet are naked, his shirt is open at the throat, and it seems that the celestial farmer returns from his daily work. In Gothic letters of white on the right we read: SATURNUS. Behind him are two signs that correspond to the planet, that is, Capricorn running in the sky and Aquarius in the act of overturning his pitcher, with a hat that resembles the petasus of Mercury. Also the stars around Capricorn and Aquarius are made with gold.
I do not see "Saturnus", as opposed to "Aquarius". Added later: I do see it now, in the upper right. In any case, we have a characterization of the object the man is holding. It is a jug, he says. Perhapts it is related to the sign Aquarius, although that figure has his own. Visually it resembles a lantern or small stove and is not far removed from the globe held by the early Florentine cassoni figures.

Dorez is historian enough to look for other similar representations of Saturn from the same time and region. He finds a few. One is still visible (p. 84)
A Venezia sui capitelli del palazzo ducale si vedono i Pianeti quasi cogli stessi
simboli che si osservano nelle nostre pitture. Saturno è un uomo quinquagenario
con barba corta; siede sul Capricorno (una capra, senza coda di pesce), colla destra
impugna una falce ; a sinistra ha un'urna donde egli stesso versa l'acqua. Presso di
lui si legge la scritta : E[S]T [TIBI] SATVRNE DOMVS EGLO-CERVNTIS ET VRNE, cioè: "
la tua casa, o Saturno, è quella del Capricorno " [Egloceronte] e dell'Acquario...

In Venice, on the capitals of the Ducal Palace are seen the Planets with almost the same symbols that we observe in our paintings. Saturn is a man of fifty years with a short beard; he sits on the Capricorn a goat, without fishtail), with his right hand a scythe, at left he has an urn from which he himself pours water. Near him we read the words: E[S]T [TIBI] SATVRNE DOMVS EGLO-CERVNTIS ET VRNE, that is: your home, or Saturn, is that of Capricorn [Egloceronte] and Aquarius.
In this one the jug, or urn, is clearly related to Aquarius. In that regard the image is different from the one in the manuscript.

Another example is from descriptions of a fresco series in Padua, Dorez says in the Chiesa degli Eremetani, by the 14th century Guariento (mentioned also at The frescoes apparently were decayed beyond recognition by Dorez's day; but there remained an old description, or even two (I am going to give two; I assume they are of the same fresco). One account appeared in Rosini, History of Painting in Italy. Vol. II, Pisa, 1840, from which Dorez (p. 87) quotes. I think it is by someone named Bossi:
la prima figura che si vede entrando nel coro a diritta, rappresenta, al mio modo d'intendere, il pianeta Saturno. Egli sieste con le gambe incrociate, e, in apparenza d'uomo stanco, senilmente si appoggia ad una zappa. Non mi spiace dì vedere data a questo nume una zappa in luogo della solita falce, poiché con la zappa pare che meglio alludasi alla agricoltura da lui insegnata, essendo che la falce miete l'erba e gli arbusti anche nudi senz'arte, mentre la zappa dispone il terreno ade seminazioni, e, se crediamo al Vico e ad altri, per l'appunto da Satis fecero i Latini il loro Saturno. Ma il Guariento, qual che sì fosse il motivo che il mosse a rappresentare i pianeti in questo Luogo, non accontentossì delle figure di pianeti soli, ma volle anche rappresentare le loro influenze sulla specie umana, e ciò ottenne con due figure accessorie, in mezzo delle quali pose la principal ligura del pianeta. A destra pertanto di Saturno, cui son sacri il Freddo e la Vecchiaia, vedesì infatti una vecchiaccia grinzata, che Fruga nel fuoco con una verga. Questa figura è di bella invenzione, e naturalissima: è inoltre vestita di molti panni foderati di pellicce, il che gia accorda tanto con l'età della donna, quanto il molesto influsso del freddo pianeta. Dall'altra parte vedesi un vecchione, vestito talarmente ed adagiato anch'egli presso un vaso che contiene de' carboni, che il pittore, per dimostrarli accesi, tinse in rosso, sebbene la pittura sia monocromatica. Anche i panni di costui son foderali di pellicce, e pare in tutto degno consorte della vecchia squarquoia che abbiamo descritta. Prima però di lasciare Saturno, è da notarsi ch'ei siede sopra un gran tronco d'albero il che non può essersi fatto senza avvedimento, e forse volle il pittore alludere alla prima origine degli uomini, che per appunto al tempo di Saturno sbucciarono dai tronchi degli alberi, e però duro rotore nati furono detti da Giovenale. E debbono anche notarsi i raggi del pianeta, e le due stelle a raggi verdeggianti, che nella parte superiore mettono in mezzo la principal figura, dentro le quali stelle sono rappresentati in minute figurine due segni dello Zodiaco, cioè l'Acquario e il Capro.

The first picture you see entering the choir to the right, is, to my way of understanding, the planet Saturn. He sits with his legs crossed, and, with the appearance of a weary man, agedly leans on a hoe. I'm not sorry to see a hoe given to this god instead of the usual sickle, because the hoe seems to allude more to the agriculture that he taught, being that the sickle reaps the grass and shrubs bare without art, while the hoe sees to the seeding of the ground, and if we believe Vico and others, precisely from Satis was made by the Latins their Saturn. But Guariento, for whatever reason, to represent the planets in this place, was not satisfied with the figures of planets alone, but also wanted to represent their influences on the human species, and that he obtained with two accessory figures, in the midst of whom poses the principal figure of the planet. At the right, therefore, of Saturn, to whom Cold and Old Age are sacred, we see indeed a grizzly hag, who digs into the fire with a stick. This figure is a great invention, and very natural: dressed in many clothes also lined with fur, which already accords as much with the state of this woman as with the troublesome influence of the cold planet. On the other side is seen an old man, similarly dressed and also carrying a vessel containing some coals; the painter, to demonstrate it, dyed it in red, although the painting is monochromatic. Even the shoes of this man are made of fur, and he seems in every respect a worthy consort of the decrepit old woman we have described. Before leaving Saturn, however, it is also to be noted that he sits on a large tree trunk, which could not have done without foresight, and perhaps the painter wanted to allude to the first origin of mankind, and precisely the time of Saturn of peeling trunks of trees, and therefore duro robore nati as said by Juvenal. The rays of the planet must also be noted, and the two stars in the green rays, which are on either side of the top of the principal figure, in which stars are represented in minute two figures of the zodiac signs, that is, Aquarius and the Goat.
This time we have a portable stove rather than a jug, and fur clothing. It is Saturn as the coldest planet. In the PMB likewise, the Old Man is dressed in fur. A lantern is not that far removed from a portable stove.

Added Nov. 24, 2013: In an article on these Eremetani frescoes cited by Phaeded on another thread, there was a photo of this fresco of Saturn, taken before it was destroyed by Allied bombing in 1944. Here it is, from p. 132 of "Time, History and the Cosmos: the Dado in the Apse of the Church of the Eremitni, Padua", by Catherine Harding (pp. 127-142 of Art and the Augustinian Order in Early Renaissance Italy, edited by Louise Bourdua and Anne Dunlop, 1988). Harding observes that the seven planetary gods were correlated with seven "ages of man", as well as by the zodiac signs ruled by each god. She concludes:
...and finally, Saturn's realm of decrepitude (decriptas), with a pair of elderly people resting and warming themselves before their tiny braziers (fig. 40).

Dorez (p. 87) also has another description, I think of the same fresco, by a French scholar named Didron. The description is again of three figures:
SATURNO Uomo vecchio ravviluppato e quasi nascosto nella sua veste. Siede su un banco ed è curvato dalla stanchezza, dalla noia, dall'eta. Col l'estremiti di un basione, basione da vecchio, cerca di riaccendere de' carboni che vanno morendo in un misero braciere. È il fine (?) doloroso, o almeno tristissimo, del dramma della vita terrena.
Uomo con barba. Otto raggi dietro di lui. Una sola veste. Braccia e gambe ignude. Siede su una rocca. Fra le mani, in luogo della false classica, ha la zappa, cloè la vanga, con cui si scava la fossa. È l'ultimo pianeta, l'ultima eta, il cui fine è la fine della vita. Non v'è quasi piu niente de usare; non si ha piu che una vesie, ed È gran tempo che tutto finesce.
Una donna vecchia, adagiata su un banco e pressochè morta. Le sta dappresso un braciere pieno di carboni che dinne pochissimo calore. L'uomo può ancora star seduto sul banco, mentre la donna è gia straidista ed agonizza. È da notare che In questi disegni l'uomo sta quasi sempre in piedi, mentre la donna, più debole è sempre seduta.

SATURN. Old man wrapped up and almost hidden in his robe. Sitting on a bench and is curved by fatigue, weariness, from age. With his limbs and a stick the old man tries to rekindle the coals that are dying in a miserable brazier. It is the painful, or at least sad, end(?) of the drama of life on earth.

Man with beard. Eight rays behind him. A single garment. Arms and legs bare. Sits on a rock. In his hands, instead of the classic sickle, has a hoe, i.e. the spade,with which he digs his own grave. It is the last planet, the last age, the end of which is the end of life. There is almost nothing more of use, you do not have more than one piece of clothing, and it is high time that everything end.

An old woman, lying on a bench and almost dead. Close behind is a brazier full of coals that give out very little heat. The man can still sit on the bench, while the woman is already stretched out and agonizes. It is noteworthy that in these drawings the man is almost always standing while the woman, the weaker, is always sitting.

It strikes me that the way the Old Man (Vecchio) holds his hourglass or globe (e.g. in the Charles VI or Catania), it could just as well be a lantern, or, when it is close to his body, as in the PMB, a portable stove. The PMB Vecchio also has his furs, which link him with the cold planet, as also does the stove; a lantern would link him to the darkest planet, the furthest from the sun even in the Ptolemaic universe, and the one associated with the dark metal lead. In these descriptions, the stick is also mentioned in these descriptions, which we see in the tarot Vecchio.

These observations do not show that the image derives from Milan, where the illumination would have been kept after its presumed commissioner, Bruzio Visconti, went into exile. These images, including the frescoes, would have been copied by artists lucky enough to be granted access, the copies taken to their workshops, wherever they might have been. This was the age of model-books. Relations between Milan and Florence were not so bad that Milan--or Padua, to be sure--would not have an occasional Florentine.

Dorez says that this imagery is Augustinian (p. 90) as opposed to Franciscan or Dominican; certainly the church was Augustinian, as Wikipedia also says. A center for the cult of St. Augustine was of course his burial city of Pavia.

Re: The Hermit

MikeH wrote:
In any case, we have a characterization of the object the man is holding. It is a jug, he says. Perhapts it is related to the sign Aquarius, although that figure has his own. Visually it resembles a lantern or small stove and is not far removed from the globe held by the early Florentine cassoni figures

Sometimes Temperance holds Saturn's attributes so perhaps the reverse could be true, with Aquarius's flowing pitcher evoking Temperance in this particular example?


Re: The Hermit

Phaeded wrote:
MikeH wrote:
In any case, we have a characterization of the object the man is holding. It is a jug, he says. Perhapts it is related to the sign Aquarius, although that figure has his own. Visually it resembles a lantern or small stove and is not far removed from the globe held by the early Florentine cassoni figures

Sometimes Temperance holds Saturn's attributes so perhaps the reverse could be true, with Aquarius's flowing pitcher evoking Temperance in this particular example?

You've got it backwards, Phaeded. As far as art history knows, Temperance had it first, allegories of Time had it second, and Saturn had it after both. The hourglass did not become part of Saturn's iconography until well after its appearance here - the earliest known image of an hourglass (sandglass) - in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena. A century later, it begins to appear as an attribute of a newly-developed allegory for Time in the Tarot and the Triumph of Time.

See Simona Cohen, "The early Renaissance personfication of Time and changing concepts of Temporality" (Renaissance Studies vol. 14 no. 3 (2000) pp. 301-328). This personification occurs in manuscript illustrations and cassoni (wedding chest) paintings of Petrarch's Trionfi, and of course in the A or Southern kind of tarot cards, as well as the PMB.

Cohen says about the hourglass motif -
An important attribute of time, the hourglass, seems to have made its first appearance in the Trionfo del Tempo about 1450. It was then introduced in a whole series of cassone. We have seen that images of the initial stage [of depictions of the Triumph, 1440s], such as the globe and elements, were carried over by medieval cosmic imagery, but the hourglass had no cosmic connotations and was comparatively new to art: the earliest known depiction, used as an attribute of Temperance in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, preceded its appearance in the Trionfo del Tempo by about 100 years. Temperance signified moderation, regularity, and restraint, in other words, moral self-discipline or the self-imposition of limits. The hourglass of Temperance showed that proper measurement and utilization of time was a virtue. When in the fifteenth century Time made his debut with an hourglass, Temperance had long ago forsaken hers for a clock. Although there is one example of a mechanical clock on a cassone of the mid-Quattrocento, the fact that illustrators of that period still preferred to represent time by the hourglass, rather than the modern clock that was perfecting time measurement, indicates that these were not interchangeable symbols. The regularity of clockwork had become a simile for the regularity of man's body and spirit when ruled by reason. The hourglass conveyed the idea not of accurate measurement but of the brevity of human life. It was a perfect object to express the sense of value that men attached to the brief time allotted them. Concurrent with the appearance of the hourglass in Italian art, there was new emphasis on a more practical approach to time in religious and secular literature. (pp. 311-313; bold emphasis added)
And see my post to Aeclectic Tarot in 2008 - ... ostcount=1

Saturn appears in Mike's image above with Aquarius because he rules the signs of Aquarius and Capricorn (also shown).

Re: The Hermit

Ross wrote:
You've got it backwards, Phaeded. As far as art history knows, Temperance had it first, allegories of Time had it second, and Saturn had it after both. The hourglass did not become part of Saturn's iconography until well after its appearance here - the earliest known image of an hourglass (sandglass) - in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena. A century later, it begins to appear as an attribute of a newly-developed allegory for Time in the Tarot and the Triumph of Time.
I’ve got Cohen printed out somewhere - should have known Saturn/hourglass was late. I was thinking of a possible later conflation of Temperance/Saturn imagery (more on that below), but one can connect Temperance and Saturn at an early date via Dante’s Paradiso (they represent the same sphere). The question is: was Temperance represented as diluting wine with water with two jugs at a date prior to Mike’s Saturn image with a jug in the 14th century? Very speculative here (need the full context of Mike’s image) but Aquarius seems to be a negative aspect (upside down) with Saturn looking away from that constellation’s upturned jug. Saturn is usually considered malefic so perhaps the opposite of Temperance here – not diluting the wine (his jug) with water?

The conflation of Temperance/Saturn attributes I hinted at above is in regard to the Temperance(?) card from the AS deck. The naked person atop the deer appears to be pouring the liquid out onto his own genitals – presumably inhibiting the sexual desire, just as the effects of wine are diluted when mixed with water. By this date Time/Saturn was shown with an hourglass, its two chambers pouring into one another resembling that of the two jugs pouring into one another by Temperance (and again, Dante explicitly links them). But to my primary point: why Temperance on a deer? As we know from the Florentine cassoni, that animal is Saturn’s – thus the conflation (or rather loaned attribute). I can see no other explanation for a deer with Temperance.


Ca. 1440 Time with hourglass

In her paper "Parading David" (Art History 35 (2012): 682-701), Anne Dunlop refers (p. 692) to a cassone by Apollonio di Giovanni at Yale, which they title "Tournament in the Square of Santa Croce, Florence", and date to ca. 1440 - ... int-lg.jpg

She notes that there is an image of "naked Time" on the banner of the group on the left (in front of the church), and I was surprised to find, when I looked closely the image, that he was holding an hourglass (and winged).

This surprised me because Simona Cohen, in "The early Renaissance personification of Time and changing concepts of temporality" (Renaissance Studies 14.3 (2000), pp. 301-328), suggests that the hourglass as an attribute of the personification of Time only appears "about 1450" (p. 311). It is true that she only remarks on the Triumph of Time, but I am sure that if she had known about this one she would have remarked on it, as cassoni are her earliest witnesses for the association, and she does trace the appearance of the hourglass in art from the 14th century. A decade is not very significant for Cohen's case or art history in general, but for Tarot chronology and iconography it may be important, at least allowing us room to claim that the hourglass on the card was not necessarily imported from Petrachan imagery at a later date (a suspicion that always bothered me).

In other words, even though not a triumph of time per se, this cassone is extremely relevant to her thesis, and suggests that the attribute of Time with an hourglass had an existence independent of cassone illustrations of Petrarch's Trionfi already around 1440 (and, if it were ever in doubt, that this innovation is Florentine).

Dunlop also notes the lady on the banner on the right, and suggests that it "may be Love or Fortune". Whatever her identity might be, what struck me was the figure on the triumphal float in front of her, which seems to belong to the same group holding the Love or Fortune banner (perhaps it is a trophy), that shows a woman standing on a globe, holding a bow (I can't make out what her left hand is doing), which is reminiscent of the World.

This is also interesting since Philine Helas, who has studied globes in parades in the quattrocento, seems to know only that of Caesar in Alfonso of Aragon's 1443 Naples triumph as the earliest one (and she makes no reference to this cassone in any case). Helas' general theory about these globes is that there is a connection between the poet Piero de' Ricci (who wrote Caesar's verses in the Florentine part of Alfonso's triumph, and therefore probably had a greater role in these kinds of productions), his friend the astronomer Paolo Toscanelli, and Toscanelli's friend Filippo Brunelleschi, and that the expertise of these three in their various fields came together to produce the parade globe (rotating in many cases, although we can't be sure in the case of this cassone).


Re: The Hermit

Interesting finding ...
The Church of Santa Croce was built outside the circle of city walls in a poor marshy area, so little populated that it was possible to leave a large space suitable to welcome the crowds coming to listen to preachers and see sacred representations, tournaments and other performances. As time went by the square became the focus of Florentine cultural and commercial life.

Along its perimeter there are prestigious buildings: Cocchi Serristori, attributed to Giuliano da Sangallo or Baccio d’Agnolo and Antella, whose façade was frescoed between 1619 and 1620, are the most important ones. During Renaissance time festivals and jousts took place in the square: the most famous one was the one won by Giuliano de’ Medici; the victory was celebrated in the work entitled “Stanze” written by Agnolo Poliziano. Nowadays, every year, Santa Croce square turns into a pitch in occasion of the matches played for the Historical Football Game: in 1565 a rounded piece of marble was placed on the wall of Antella building to indicate the half of the field; a mark is also on the opposite side. The game, originally called “football in livery”, was played in other places as well but Santa Croce was the venue of the game, performed on February 17th 1530. ... iazza.aspx

The picture is on a flag, and the flag (one of two at the whole field ... or picture) leads to two persons (referees ?) a little bit outside of the game action (at least they seem to have observer function). Both flag-holders are the most well-dressed persons at the picture, and the person with hour glass has a horse decorated with flames.
Maybe, that "Time" or "Time-keeping" played a practical role during this "tournament game"?


... the other flag holder ...


Added: Well, the referee team seems to be this group ....


... which makes the flag holders likely to the team leaders. "Naked Time" against "Lady in Boat".