Cary-Yale Visconti Tarocchi Deck - Review by Michele Jackson

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This deck is a facsimile of a 15th century Italian deck. Some scholars feel that this is the oldest Visconti deck available, possibly being completed in 1428. The original deck is missing 22 cards. 19 of them were recreated by artist Luigi Scapini. Three of the missing cards are replaced by the three virtues. Faith replaces The Hierophant, Charity replaces The High Priestess, and Hope replaces The Star. Other cards that are missing and have been reinterpreted are:The World

  1. The Fool
  2. The Magician
  3. Justice
  4. The Hermit
  5. The Wheel of Fortune
  6. The Hanged Man
  7. Temperance
  8. The Devil
  9. The Tower
  10. The Moon
  11. The Sun
  12. Male Knight of Swords
  13. Male Page of Swords
  14. Knight of Staves
  15. Male Knight of Staves
  16. Queen of Cups
  17. Female Knight of Cups
  18. Male Page of Coins
  19. Three of Coins

The Court Cards have both a male and female Page and a male and female knight for each suit. Decks of this type were handpainted, and were therefore only available to the rich. Kaplan says the deck may have been done as a wedding present for Filippo Visconti and Maria Savoy, but then says this is doubtful because the marriage was never consummated. The 1428 date comes from this supposition. The cards are large (3 3/4 X 7 1/4), with a plain beige background. The original cards on which this deck is based were done on cardboard. Arrows are used for the suit of Staves (Wands), the other suits are the familiar cups, swords and coins (Pentacles). The heraldic devices of the Visconti family are found throughout the deck. There is no evidence that this deck was used as a divination device. Per the booklet that comes with the deck, the earliest mention of tarrochi cards being used for divination is 1527.

The booklet that comes with the deck provides a brief history of this and other early decks. It also provides photographs of each of the cards, a necessity because the cards are not numbered or named as are our modern decks. Divinatory meanings, both upright and reversed are provided. Separate and different interpretations are provided for both the male and female knights and pages, though the meanings are quite similar. The Celtic Cross spread is also provided. I would recommend this deck for collectors or for those interested in the history of the cards. A saw a woman purchasing a set once and asked her if she read with them. She said she used them to read at Renaissance fairs, an excellent idea! (Image shown is The World)

  If you would like to purchase this deck, click here.

Cary-Yale Visconti Tarocchi Deck
US Games Systems, 179 Ludlow St., Stamford CT, 06902, (800) 544 - 2637, fax (203) 353 - 8431.

Review Copyright 1996/97 Michele Jackson

Page Copyright 2000 DianeWilkes