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Le Fanu  Le Fanu is offline
Join Date: 10 Feb 2008
Location: Somewhere Spooky
Posts: 17,258
Le Fanu 

I always find the date of the Ancient Italian so late in the day. I mean, when I first saw it, I thought it was from much earlier. Only later did I notice the 1880 date on the box! I suppose that as it draws upon the Dellarocca/ Gumpenberg deck (i.e the Scarabeo Classical Tarot designs) it invariably looks older than it is, as the images were already 50 years old. It is contemporary with - say Oscar Wilde - and yet looks so much older. By 1880, surely most people were aware that cards were used for "Fortune Telling"?

To be honest, it doesn't bother me that there is no evidence of tarot being used for divination before - as you say - the 1790s, when there is evidence of playing cards being used, as well as special "divination decks" (like Lenthall's Fortune Telling cards from 1712 which I have a facsimile of). Im sure cards were cards and the fact that playing cards were used for divination would reflect equally on tarot. The association was aleady there. But, again, no proof.

In short, I think the Ancient Italian came about - 1880 (only 30 years before RWS!!!) - when people knew that the link between cards and divination existed, which - for me - already makes it a different deck to the Marseilles. This, for me, is enough...
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