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Golden Tarot of the Tsar - tarot decks

Playing Cards
Playing Cards -> Tarot decks

Price: US $14.45

ProductID: alt0064

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About this item
  • A luxurious looking tarot based on the iconic art of Russian Orthodox Christianity. The Golden Tarot of the Tsar is one of Lo Scarabeo's metallic decks - the saints and biblical scenes have textured gold backgrounds.

Name Golden Tarot of the Tsar
Creators A. Atanassov
Publisher Lo Scarabeo
Deck Type Tarot Deck
Cards 78
Major Arcana 22
Minor Arcana 56


Despite the aristocratic title, this is not a deck devoted to the Russian Tsars, but a deck with its basis in the images of the faith of Russian Orthodox Christianity. The veneration of religious images - icons - is a very old tradition, brought to Russia from Byzantium in the earliest days of Christianity, when its worship replaced that of pagan divinities and ancestral spirits. The ritual use and doctrine of icons were codified and defined in the 9th Century CE, and the artistic code established at the same time set out the rules of iconography. The prescribed pattern, composition and distinct characteristics have changed little since that time., as icons were not intended to be a product of the artist's imagination, or to depict exactly an image of physical reality, but to represent a spiritual ideal and assist contemplative prayer. They illustrate the life of Jesus, Mary, the Saints, and biblical stories and are not meant to appeal to our aesthetic sense, but to be holy.

In the Golden Tarot of the Tsar, Atanassov has melded iconic images with the seventy-eight card tarot structure. Iconic images have 'odd' proportions, a flatness and lack of three-dimensional perspective, and these cards are no exception. The art has no direct light source, and hence, no shadows. Humans are tall and lean, their faces characterised by large eyes, a long thin nose and small mouth.

The majors show predominantly saints and religious figures like Jesus and Mary, full-length and facing us directly. The minors are pip cards, but also have small illustrative scenes as well, placed in a geometrically shaped inset in the middle of the card. For Cups, the inset is a square, for Wands, a diamond, Swords a circle and Pentacles a hexagon.

The Golden Tarot of the Tsar is one of Lo Scarabeo's metallic decks and has the tarot scenes set on a shining textured gold leaf background, and contained by rich dark red borders. Card titles and numbering are very unobtrusive, being in a small font on the far left hand side, allowing the card imagery takes precedence. The card backs show a mirrored picture of Jesus, and are suitable for reversal.

The booklet accompanying the deck is the standard leaflet packaged with Lo Scarabeo decks. (One day, I'd like to see companion books for decks like the Golden Tarot of the Tsar; their historical and spiritual depth cannot be adequately explained on fourteen small pages!) The booklet gives the name of the saint, historical figure or scene depicted on the card (all except the court cards), a (very) few words of divinatory meaning, and a new eleven card spread called the Orthodox Cross.

Though this deck is an experienced tarot readers' deck and requires a level of knowledge for full appreciation, it is definitely worth having in the collection just for periodic admiration of its visual splendour.

Combine shipping is possible.

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