In the flowers of each coin at some given cards there are a dot or dots inside them. Some other coin cards do not have any dots in the inside of the flowers. Regarding this specific peculiarity, Pablo says: “For me, these dots are seeds that make fertile the flowers, and when there aren’t any this means they are fruitless or that there is a need to wait”.
Two cards in which this specially notorious are the Ace of Coins and the Four of Wands. In these last two cases, the seeds are there showing the way of creativity and prosperity.
He must know that representations of God the Father, God the Son, the angels and the apostles should have the feet bare, while there would be real impropriety in representing the Virgin and the saints with bare feet… There are also accepted signs for objects of the visible world which the artist must learn. Lines which are concentric and sinuous represent the sky, those which are horizontal and undulating represent water… Thus we have a veritable hieroglyphic in which art and writing blend, showing the same spirit of order and abstraction that there is in heraldic art with its alphabet, rules and symbolism (1913:2).
Position, grouping, symmetry and number are of extraordinary importance… In early times certain passages in the Bible led to the belief that the right hand was the place of honor… The medieval theologians in their turn laid great stress on the dignity of the right hand place, and the artists did not fail to conform to so well established a doctrine…Again, the higher place was considered more honorable than the lower, and from this some curious composition resulted. Of these the most striking is that of the figure of Christ in Majesty supported by the four beasts of the Apocalypse. The four beasts, symbols of the evangelists as we shall show later, were place according to the excellence of their natures… (1913: 5-7).
A detail of apparent insignificance may hide symbolic meaning… In the art of the Middle Ages, as we see, everything depicted is informed by a quickening spirit… Such a conception of art implies a profoundly idealistic view of the scheme of the universe, and the conviction that both history and nature must be regarded as vast symbols… From what has been said it is evident that medieval art was before all things a symbolic art, in which form is used merely as the vehicle of spiritual meaning (1913:15-22).
The Tarot of Jean Noblet (Paris, circa 1650)
Its design, while conforming to the “Marseille style”, is original. Specialists, and all who enjoy significant details, will find numerous fueatures worth examining (Flornoy, 2014).
In observing some of the features present in the composition of different decks pertaining to the Tarot de Marseilles Tradition, Thierry Depaulis elaborated a classification which has been widely adopted among those dedicated to the study of this pattern. He published this classification for the first time in 1986.
Depaulis classified the decks pertaining to the Tarot of Marseilles Tradition in two kinds: Type I and II. Regardless of some posterior tendency to think that these categories have a relationship with how early a deck is; truth is that by comparing the dates this affirmation appears as hardly possible. Notwithstanding, Depaulis has written that "Type I is represented by earlier packs than Type II".
Tradition of the Tarot of Marseilles
Nicholas Rolichon (Lyon, XVII Century)
Jean Dodal (Lyon, circa 1705)
Jean-Pierre Payen (Aviñón, 1713)
Jean Tissot (Besançon, circa 1725)
Cosmo Antonio Toso (Génova, circa 1730-40)
Jean Payen (Aviñón, 1743)
Joseph Chaffard (Marseilles, 1747)
Jean-François Tourcaty, Jr. (Marseilles, circa 1750)
Joseph-Noël Icarden (Marseilles, circa 1755)
Pierre Madenié (Dijon, 1709)
François Chosson (Marseilles, 1736)
Jean-Baptiste Madenié (Dijon, 1739)
Claude Burdel (Friburgo, 1751)
François Bourlion (Marseilles, 1760)
Nicolas Conver (Marseilles, 1760)
Joseph Feautrier (Marseilles, 1762)
Antoine Bourlion (Marsella, 1768)
Jean-François Tourcaty, Jr. (Marseilles, circa 1785)
Amphoux & Arnoux (circa 1802-1803)
André Arnoux, (after 1808)
Bernardine Suzanne (Marseilles, 1839)
The real pertinence of this classification is the existence of some important symbolic differences among both types. For example, in decks of Type I, we can see a number 4 in Trump IIII, a blindfold cupid in Trump VI, and the full face of the Moon in Trump XVIII. There are many other differences between the two types, including the name of The Fool, which in Type I is Le Fol and in Type II Le Mat.
“The Tarot de Marseille – Facts and Fallacies I”. En: The Playing-Card, Vol. 42/ N° 1, 2013-14, pp. 21-41.
“The Tarot de Marseille – Facts and Fallacies II”. En: The Playing-Card, Vol. 42/ N° 2, 2013-14, pp. 101-20.
Flornoy, Jean Claude
The Tarot of Marseilles of Jean Noblet. (Éditions letarot.com). 2014.
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