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Baroque Bohemian Cats' Tarot - tarot decks

Playing Cards
Playing Cards -> Tarot decks

Price: US $16.61

ProductID: alt673

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About this item
  • The Baroque Bohemian Cats' Tarot is one-of-a-kind. Three elements: real cats of all colours and breeds, gorgeous
  • Baroque costumes, and a luxurious European environment, have been digitally blended into a workable Tarot deck for
  • all cat lovers.


Specifications
Name Baroque Bohemian Cats' Tarot
Creators Alex Ukolov, Karen Mahony
Publisher agic Realist Press 2004
Deck Type Tarot Deck
Cards 79
Deck Tradition Rider-Waite-Smith
Minor Arcana Style RWS-Based Scenes
Card Back Reversible
Learn more Join the tudy group in the forum.


Reviews

It can. Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov from baba studio have managed to follow their first creation, the Tarot of Prague, with a work of more fun but equal quality. In these cards, cats of all breeds, colours, shapes and sizes are fully and gloriously attired, set in luxurious surroundings matched to the hue of their eyes and fur. Suspension of belief is necessary to use these cards, but thanks to the skill and attention to detail, both on the part of the costume designer and the artists who blended the images of cats, costumes and attractive landscapes together into a cohesive and opulent whole, this isn’t hard to achieve.

At first glance the cards have a rather feminine feel of dressed cats, floral borders, rich decadence and florid excess - but this is in keeping with the theme; Baroque being very much a gilded and fantastic style, as it coincided with the 17th and some of the 18th centuries in Europe. As well having their eye colour matched to the costumes, cat expressions have been modelled after the card archetype. In majors, the calmness of the figures translates to a posed and richly-dressed formality, reminding me of earlier historical decks. The minors have more of an energy and wider range of cat facial expressions. Only a handful of cards -including the Aces, Judgement and the Tower - have pictures of ‘real’ cats. And, lest anyone worry, we are told on the back of the box that these cats were dressed entirely digitally, and were not harmed or affected in any way. (Which would be why the cats can look so calm and collected: if in actuality they were dressed, the only expression would be resigned boredom or an I’m-g oing-to-remember-this-on-a-dark-night-at-3am evil stare.)

Symbolically, the cards are based on the Rider-Waite and each element has been chosen for its suitability to the card archetype. A great deal of thought that has gone into the usability of the deck: for example, the majors of the deck are un-numbered and can be arranged in any sequence desired in order to resolve the Strength/Justice arrangement dilemma.

I had a hard time choosing my favourite cards from this deck. There is the Hierophant with his lynx like figure and steady gaze. The calm and even suave Hanged Man. The Wheel of Fortune, with its well dressed Russian Blue looking into a mirror and a sleepy, raggedly-dressed puss looking out. The composition, colouring and expression in the King of Wands. The match of costume and hue in the Two of Swords and Justice. The Three of Wands, with its opera-singing cat in full voice on stage. I am also fond of the Magician, a commanding fellow in blue and gold, but he’s so similarly patterned to the background that he doesn’t stand out (though perhaps this is another element of the trickster). I did find this to be the case with a few cards, other cards, while lovely, they are so busy and full of detail that it’s hard to pick out the most important elements until the images are very familiar.

The full Baroque Bohemian Cats’ Tarot set includes the 78 card deck, plus a title card and a 79th card titled Hermes, and a 208 page book, packaged together in a slipcase. (The packaging is much more compact than the Tarot of Prague packaging -- a definite improvement.) In the hand, the cards area slightly larger size than usual, the better for showing off the card details. The cardstock is quite matte rather than glossy, and they are easy to shuffle and use. The backs of the decks are not quite reversible but a busy relief or frieze of flowers, fruits, faces and vines has been cleverly designed to appear so from the usual reading distance. (The words Baroque Bohemian Cats is laid down the centre, linked by the middle S, and to the left and right are the authors’ last names, in very small and unobtrusive print.)

The companion book, "The Baroque Bohemian Cats’ Tarot", is a slim volume that yet manages to hold 208 pages of useful, down-to-earth information on the card meanings and background, as well as a complete introduction to learning and reading Tarot. It begins with a little history on the tradition of cats in clothes – proving that yes, other people have done this before – a little tarot history and history of cats in Tarot. The bulk of the book contains the card explanations, with keywords, upright and reversed meanings, and notes on the cards, cats and locations. The back of the book provides info on reading with the cards, keeping a tarot journal, related Tarot spreads and finally two sample readings. For beginners, the book-and-deck set is a perfect and compact introduction to the world of Tarot. Collectors and experienced Tarot readers wouldn’t necessarily need the book, but it may be enjoyed for the explanation of the chosen card symbolism and selected cats.

The Baroque Bohemian Cats’ Tarot is a perfect introductory deck for the cat-lover who thought Tarot was a bit too stuffy and uninteresting. The feline fantasy world could also appeal to doll or costume collectors as well as deck collectors -– and the cards are still very useable for readings.


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