Tarot card found in bronze statue


Tarot (?) card found in bronze statue

Hi there,
Yesterday there was a very interesting topic raised on 3sat about a bronze statue of a young man found in the 16th (?) century somewhere in Austria.

When the scientists of a museum in Vienna examined this statue more closely, they found a "page of swords" card in it. The card was only shown very briefly so I had no chance to get a closer look.

Guiding Cauldron


It seems more and more are being enlightened from the past eh? :) What a FAB find!!


OOOO!!! How interesting is that!!

Maybe this is how the artist saw himeslf/herself. A young sculpter - tools in hand. I wonder from what deck was the card?

It would be great to find out a bit more about the statue and the card. Thankd catlin for letting us know :)

Elven x


It is interesting! When you say the card was in the statue - do you mean the young man was holding it, or it was somewhere about the outside of the statue - or was it embedded in the bronze?

16th Century, in Austria - that's also interesting. I wonder if it was locally produced or an import.

But how can we be sure it's a tarot card, and not an ordinary playing card, if it's a page?


@ Helvetica: the card was found inside the bronze statue (it seems to be made in the style what we call "Hohlguss" in German, I don't know the English word for, the statue was not massive bronze but only the outside, and inside it was empty apart from the card).

It's a very good point to ask the question whether it was a tarot card or just a simple playing card. The guy on tv only called it a "page of swords" and made no further reference either to tarot or to playing cards. He just mentioned that the "page of swords" seems to point to the bronze statue as "being born of fire."

I tried to find a link or some more information on this bronze statue but until now I found no clue on the internet.


Bianca Maria Sforza, daughter Galeazzo Maria Sforza, became German-Austrian empress in 1494. It's documented, that she brought Italian playing cards with her (likely Tarocchi cards), which she showed the amazed Maximilian in the wedding knight. Later, when Maximilian is reported to behaved less amazed, Bianca Maria was still very addicted to her playing cards (which is also reported). In 1496 a wedding deck was produced for the Spanish marriages of the children of Maximilian. Partly Italian suits were used (copperplate engravings). The deck survived in three different examplars, so cannot be called really a rare item.



@ Huck, thanks for the link, but the card shown on 3sat did not look like these. The card looked much cruder.


catlin said:
@ Huck, thanks for the link, but the card shown on 3sat did not look like these. The card looked much cruder.
Considering, that Spain did win much influence in Italy in 16th century, and that Spanish Habsburger were then closely mingled with German-Austrian Habsburger, it's almost a wonder, that nearly no Tarot cards survived in Austria.

Ross G Caldwell

Hi Catlin,

do you think you could find a picture or an article on the 3sat website? (I think it's www.3sat.de )

This is very interesting.



Now I found the link to the Museum of Natural History of Vienna but no hint to the Bronzestatue which was part of the collection (and for ages erroneousely dated back as a found of the Roman Antique until they found the playing card inside).

Maybe this is the reason why the statue does not shop up on the official site?