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Tarot's Origins, Mamluk Cards, First Divinations

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.divination,alt.tarot,alt.magick
From: nagasiva 
Subject: Tarot's Origins, Mamluk Cards, First Divinations
Date: Sun, 18 Jul 2004 11:49:15 GMT

50040718 viii om

cutting to the chase....

Gnome d Plume  
#> Tarot was probably "invented" by the Turks. I have a book on a
#> Turkish deck from Fra. Regulus in Istanbul that pre-dates 
#> Tarouchi.

#> ..."The Mamluk Playing Cards".....

#># The Mamluk deck is NOT a tarot deck. (Incidentally, there 
#># may be more than one Mamluk deck at this point. As far as 
#># I'm concerned, "the" Mamluk deck is the one found in the 
#># Topkapi museum in Constantinople and first exhibited in 
#># 1939.)
#> In this case "Tarot" (in the modern divinatory sense of the term)---
#> a moot point because the original Italian  tarocchi deck---
#> was not used for divination--- and neither was the Mamluk deck 
#> (see Decker and Dummett 2002:100). (jk):
# Which one was that?
# How do you know that? 

his citation was something to the effect of:

	The primal mistake [by Mathers in the construction
	and in particular the symbolism of his deck with
	Moina Mathers] was to attempt an occult
	interpretation of the suit cards at all: in so far
	as they represent anything, it is not the occult
	Forces of the Universe, but the heraldic emblems
	of the court of Mamluk Egypt (1250-1517), the
	source of the oldest known examples of the
	"A History of the Occult Tarot -- 1870-1970",
	 Decker/Dummett, Duckworth, 2002; p. 100.

# grant that Tarot "was a game" and to admit that it wasn't
# "divinatory" doesn't support your assertion that Tarot was 
# invented by Turks, does it?

absolute problem pinpointed, thank you very much.

# Has it ever occurred to you that the similarity you are claiming
# is actually much greater between the Mamluk decks and the
# earliest extant European playing cards, which were certainly 
# not Tarot cards? .....

that seems likely to me.

# First off, Mamluk cards are the model of European playing card decks, 
# and entered Europe, through Spain and Italy, in the 14th century. Tarot 
# wasn't invented until the early-mid 15th century, in Italy. Right there
# your theory has a problem.

# I'll be more specific: the 22 trumps are what make a deck Tarot. 

some number, sure. and apparently they make a 'Deck With Trumps'.
how did you ascertain that there was only 22 in the earliest decks?
when are you identifying their consolidation as 'Tarot'?

# The addition of this special suit to the already-existing 
# standard Italian 
# deck (which had been derived from the Mamluk cards) served the 
# purpose of adding trumps into game play. Later the special suit was 
# dropped in other games using trumps, and one of the small suits 
# would be named trumps, usually after some bidding process to
# win the right to name it. But Tarot has always retained the trumps
# suit, both in game play and in occult play.
# So one can certainly have many kinds of early European card decks 
# influenced directly and wholly by Mamluk decks, but Tarot requires a 
# special, non-Mamluk, addition to this, and that addition is Italian in 
# origin. 
# Tarot is therefore an Italian invention, not a Turkish one.

seems confirmed by the same source Poke quotes.

#># See
#># L. A. Mayer: _Mamluk Playing Cards_, ed. by R. Ettinghausen and O.
#># Kurz, E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1971


thanks for quoting from it too, Jess.

# "Judging from their design, these cards are obviously of Mamluk origin, 
# and we shall probably not go wrong in attributing them to the 15th 
# century. Their ornamentation has numerous parallels in Cicassian 
# decoration, especially in illuminated Egyptian manuscripts."

# ...what "the book" actually claims is that a deck 
# of cards, discovered in Turkey, is obviously of Mamluk Egyptian 
# origin....

#> I preferred to concentrate on the  later frankly divinatory Tarots as 
#> they related to the Golden Dawn's system (see my Secrets of the 
#> G.D. Cypher MS. 1997:52-54, 127-141). 

I like to study that more too, Poke. :>


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