Rosenwald

This is from two uncut printers sheets in the Rosenwald Collection at the National Gallery of Art Washington D.C.1. These are early 16th century Southern-Category A type cards, probably from Florence.

It is interesting in several ways. The virtues resemble those in the Charles VI deck, suggesting it might be a Southern deck. Some of the cards are numbered, showing Western/Category C numbering for the first six cards.  Later Southern decks keep the first five cards (Papi) unnumbered, reflecting local rules that the Papi do not have precidence with each other.

The numbering on these cards illustrate the dilemma of tarot ordering. The most “natural” grouping, of which the Rosenwald is perhaps the best example, would have the three moral virtues kept together. Doing so, though, makes the Devil to not be number thirteen. This can be resolved by either mis-numbering the cards, not numbering The Mountebank, or putting one of the virtues above the devil. In this case, it looks like the cards are mis-numbered.

Information is scarce, but Tarot Hermit has a page on the Southern/Category A decks.

Card images were found at Trionfi.com.

1. The Encyclopedia of Tarot, Stuart R. Kaplan. pg.s 130-131.

One Response to Rosenwald

  1. manos says:

    Absolutely precious paintings in beautyful simplicity without any fancy “modern” pseudo esoteric atributs.
    Just the pure mirror of mankind n’human society as it surounds us since ages ! To dicover this deck is a clear sign that not such thing as hermetic knowledge is required to interpretait colors n’ body positions to get the valor of a card into the deck ! Simple-pure n’efficient ; the Rosenwald deck !

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