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Tarot News, March 2004 (released September 2004)

  • A Tarot exhibition is reported from Marseille, JEUX DE CARTES ET TAROT DE MARSEILLE

  • Tarock - mein einziges Vergnügen (Tarock - my only fun) was the motto of an exhibition at the Schallburg near Melk (Austria) from June till October 2003. It was accompanied by the edition of a "Begleitbuch". The organisator, Hans-Joachim Alscher, has collected very much old sources, which are now available in the web, including the text of Court de Gebelin from 1782 about Tarot.

  • A list of playing cards Museums is offered by a website from Daf Treagar, however, most of them seem either not available via internet or only offer small parts of their possessions in the net, for instance ELLIOTT AVEDON MUSEUM AND ARCHIVE OF GAMES, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and the Deutsches Spielkartenmuseum Stuttgart-Leinfelden. More private collections are much more generous, Alexander Sukhorukov with his World Web Playing Card Museum seems to beat them all. We've now merged some parts with our Inana's List and created a new place for a better view at modern and old Tarot productions, now called by us a Tarot Museum with a complete new outfit.

  • Carta Mundi announced in 2002 the take-over of the Spielkartenfabrik Altenburg and the take-over of the Swiss editor Urania Verlags AG by her subsidiary AGM AGMüller in 2001. Additionally Carta Mundi acquired the shares of Games and Print Services Ltd. on Friday 31st October 2003. "Carta Mundi group has an annual production capacity in its 4 plants of no less than 225 million packs of cards per year. On average, this works out at approximately 275 cards a second."

  • Simon Wintle at his page Early References to Playing Cards presents a lot of detailed notes especially to early Spanish documents.

  • France was the first country outside Italy that welcomed the Tarot. When exactly is a matter of discussion. A document from Avignon, quoted by Hyacinthe Chobaut in 1955 though with a wrong date, has recently come to light and reveals that "taraux" cards were being made in the Papal city in 1505.
    Thierry Depaulis will present the Avignon find in his article "Des "cartes communément appelées taraux"" in two parts in "The Playing-Card", the Journal of the International Playing-Card Society, Vol. 32, No.5 (March-April 2004) and Vol. 32, No.6 (May-June 2004). The original Latin text is published for the first time, together with a French translation and some comments. Since the very word taraux is neither Latin, like the rest of the text, nor Provençal, which was the spoken language of Avignon, but French, we can safely conclude that tarot cards were already made northward, most certainly in Lyons, around 1500 (the article is in French).
    An article by Adriano Franceschini, who found the Ferrara records of 'tarocchi' in 1505 will be published in Ludica No. 10.

  • Edward Mellen Press published recently A History of Games Played with the Tarot Pack The Game of Triumphs (Volume I) from Dummett, Michael & McLeod, John. The book is announced for May 2004, but the informations vary. Content as given by the related Internet site:

    List of Illustrations, Acknowledgments, Preface, Introduction
    1. The Game of Tarot
    2. The Early Stages of the Game in France and Switzerland
    3. Classic Eighteenth-century Tarot outside Italy
    4. Grosstarock
    5. Swiss Tarot, Troggen or Troccas
    6. Tarot in Lombardy
    7. Tarok-l’Hombre
    8. Tarot in Piedmont and Savoy
    9. Modern French Tarot
    10. Ferrara
    11. Bolognese Tarocchino
    12. Minchiate
    13. Rome and Naples
    14. Sicilian Tarocchi

    List of Illustrations, Acknowledgments, Preface, Introduction
    15. Tapp-Tarock
    16. The Variants of Tapp-Tarock
    17. Cego
    18. Königrufen
    19. XIXer-Rufen, XXer-Rufen and Czech Taroky
    20. Hungarian Tarokk
    Afterword; Appendix A – Counting points in Tarot Games; Appendix B – Bidding procedures; Appendix C – Other games played with Tarot cards; Appendix D – Maps; Appendix E – Index of Games by Types of Cards and Number of Players; Detailed Table of Contents; General Index

    Vol I: 0-7734-6447-6 $129.95/£79.95 401pp. 2004
    Vol II: 0-7734-6449-2 $139.95/£84.95 508pp. 2004

    Unluckily the book is very highpriced and probably aims at a distribution inside the libraries or very exclusive private collectors. So probably it will take its time, that the possibly included new research data will reach publical discussion. It seems, that only Volume 1 is ready. Rather good information on playing card rules generally gives John McLeod's page

  • Good biographical informations for Italian renaissance is receivable from . According to the militaric content of the site the occasionally important dating of historical events is much easier. Italian language.

  • General Tarot-News are receivable from the News-search-function of Google, typing "Tarot". This month there were 144 News, most of them rather trivial and by no means in any way related to Tarot-history. The content mostly considers the appearance of common truthsayers at publical events. Tarot card reading has found its place between "concerts, open mic nights, dance lessons, films, karaoke and crafts", Tarot careers "started when she turned 14 and her father gave her a set of Tarot cards" and occasionally "black magic causes big business: "She sat quietly as he studied the signs in five tarot cards and then explained that her troubles were caused by her husband's infidelity." One rather serious event at an ritual with oil, candles and Tarot cards did lead to the death by fire for a female 41-year-old participant in Bronx, NY, 25th of February. Oil + Candles were the dangerous items, not the tarot cards. Another tragical death happened in January, when two persons didn't have the same opinion about the meaning of a fairy card. The man, who identified a blue demon, did win in the argument by shooting the woman, and faces now 60 years in prison. His identification was based upon teachings in a Catholic bible, so in this case either the fairy card or the Catholic Bible or both in combination should be seen as "dangerous". But probably it was mainly the easy-to-reach and ready-to-shoot pistol, which caused the effect.
    What could one learn from it? Actually one should wish that people are a little more relaxed about the use of art on playing cards.

  • Jess Karlin in his own and usual sarcastical manner comments the idea of a medical center in Japan to use tarot readings to get blood donations, not forgetting to display some mockery about Tarot history: ***** actually I cited here jk's text, but I was surprized to learn, that he interpreted my action as "stealing", so I've to beg for excuse, that you better get jk's text at his site and laugh then .... when you find it. The News is here

  • The Golden Tarot has recently appeared and presents itself as a new (nice) example of manipulation of older medieval/renaissance pictures to become Tarotcards.

  • The page tries to organize Tarot Meetups for private Tarot discussions in your town or neighborhood.

  • The Melbourne International Tarot Conference is announced for the first week of July 2005.

  • The research-group "Ferrara 1441", presented by their still unfinished results at, claims, that until now all gathered data do not contradict the hypothesis, that a specific note in the Ferrarese account books ("And on the said day (1 of January 1441) two lire, five soldi marchesane, reckoned to Maestro Jacopo de Sagramoro, painter, for 14 figures painted on cotton paper and sent to Lady Bianca of Milan, to make festive the celebration of the Circumcision of the present year ... L. II. V." - translation by Ross Gregory Caldwell) might refer to Trionfi, perhaps even to the situation of the invention of this type of deck in a 5x14-structure with 5 suits, the 5th suit presented by Trionfi-motifs). The chance to prove the statement finally are considered as low, however, the involvement of certain persons like Leonello d'Este and the painter Sagramoro (which also appear in the first Trionfi document of February 1442) and Bianca Maria Visconti (later also relatable to the production of Trionfi) and specific similarities - the document (in menu: "14 figure") speaks of 14 figure as the document of Febr. 1442(in menu: "document 1") and cotton paper is used, a material, which also was in use in playing card production - seem to give great chances, that the 14 pictures were meant as playing cards or as paintings intended to be developed later to playing cards. The document was detected in March 2003 by Ross Caldwell after autorbis' strong suggestion, that early Trionfi-decks had only 14 trumps.

  • Ross Gregory Caldwell recently has presented various documents related to playing card prohibition by Filippo Maria Visconti between 1420 - 1429. The prohibitions are directed against misuse and high gambling, in comparition to known prohibition in and around Florence the Milanese laws are mild. Ross has founded a Visconti-group at to discuss further details of the Milanese court.

  • Recent researches by the trionfi-group around the person of Filippo Maria Visconti give some probability to the suggestion, that the Michelino-deck (Oldest Tarot Cards) was produced in 1425 as a accompanying deck to a real trionfo-festivity of the Milanese duke. A visit of the Greek Emperor in 1424 might have influenced the choice of Greek gods as playing card motifs.

  • Autorbis comes in his article "The Card-Playing Wheel" (see menu) to the conclusion, that the Italian suit of swords relates to the English suit clubs and the Italian suit of batons to spades, which is vice versa handled by Kaplan in his Tarot Encyclopedia. The argumentation is complex, further opinions to the matter are desired.
  • (composed by Huck Meyer)
    Stuttgarter Jagdspiel

    Stuttgarter Jagdspiel
    1427 - 1431
    from our Museum
    Old German Playing Cards