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Ancient Tarots of Lombardy - tarot decks

Playing Cards
Playing Cards -> Tarot decks

Price: US $13.37

ProductID: alt569

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About this item
  • Also known as Tarocchi Neoclassico


Specifications
Name Ancient Tarots of Lombardy
Alternate Names Tarocchi Neoclassico
Publisher Lo Scarabeo 2001
Deck Type Tarot Deck
Cards 78


Reviews

Lombardy is a region in northern Italy; Milan and Bologna are the chief cities. This is, as far as we can tell, the home turf of the standard deck of Tarot cards, and it is interesting to speculate as to whether the variations present in the nineteenth century "Ancient" Tarot of Lombardy represent the preservation of earlier traditions.

The deck is older, and not quite as well-preserved as the Della Rocca "Classical Italian" Tarot. It was made for the publishing house of Ferdinando Gumppenberg in 1810, according to the leaflet. Some of the finer lines have become blurred in the intervening years, but the drawings of the characters are distinct and well made. There are some interesting graphical variants in the trumps that place this deck somewhere between the Marseilles style and the Swiss 1JJ deck. Lo Scarabeo's box text makes this deck out to have been drawn in a "neoclassical" style; it is true that many of the figures are bearded and toga'd, and the coins seem to feature Roman emperors.

The Pope and the Papess are still here, but Strength is once more Hercules or Samson wrestling a lion. On the Wheel of Fortune, Dame Fortuna reappears to turn the crank; the crowned fellow at the top is obviously human, as is the naked man at the bottom, but the ruler is pursued by a dog on the side of the wheel.

The Magician (Il Bagattelliere) is depicted as a travelling salesman, carrying around his wares in a tray, with a Napoleonic era bicorn cap. In the Lovers, a single woman is conversing with two male admirers. The Hermit looks down to confront a snake in his path. Temperance has three jugs, one on her shoulder, and she pours the water into one set on the ground. The Devil has lost his two supporters, and appears alone. On the Last Judgment, the risen dead seem to be rising from the flames.

But the only variation from the Marseilles canon that I consider to be a serious departure is in the Tower. The lightning stroke and the falling battlements have gone missing; the tower seems intact. This suggests that the artist here was drawing from the title (La Torre) rather than the Marseilles tradition.

The pip cards are attractive, even if they have no divinatory pictures and could be used for card playing as easily as divination. Refreshingly, the clubs and swords depict the appropriate number of discrete clubs or swords, rather than curved or straight lines to distinguish swords from rods as in the strict Marseilles tradition. Some of the Knights (Cavaliere) and some of the Pages (Fante) have their faces turned away from the viewer.

The supplied leaflet is worse than most. The discussion of the trumps renames the Magician as the Fool. You'll need a book if you make this your first deck.

If you are a Tarotist who has invested meaning into every pose and symbol of the Marseilles trumps, this deck does not give an adequate substitute for the canonical images; one of the later Italian tarots, that follow Marseilles much more closely, might be more suited to your needs. On the other hand, this deck has a subdued and indeed "neo-classical" visual appeal that is not quite as loud or twee as the Swiss 1JJ deck, and generally seems to take itself more seriously.


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