The Ancient Tarot of Lombardy

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The Ancient Tarot of Lombardy … by Ferdinando Gumppemberg


RM 120.00

In this quietly powerful neoclassic deck, di Ferndinado Gumppenberg simplifies many of the cards without losing any of the symbolic intensity of the Tarot. The Marseilles style pips are clean and elegant. Hand-drawn borders complement the delicate line drawings and coloring. This unique deck with its gentle lines is a perfect expression of the poetry and magic worked by diviners everywhere, weaving the past into the present as they seek the future.

For those of us who find the Rider-Waite-Smith illustrated pip cards too forcing and confining, but who find the Marseilles deck aesthetically unpleasing, the Italian engraved "soprafino" decks make a good compromise. This is an interesting exemplar of the type.

Lombardy is a region in northern Italy; Milan and Bologna are the chief cities. This is, as far as we can tell, the home turf of the standard deck of Tarot cards, and it is interesting to speculate as to whether the variations present in the nineteenth century "Ancient" Tarot of Lombardy represent the preservation of earlier traditions.

The deck is older, and not quite as well-preserved as the Della Rocca "Classical Italian" Tarot. It was made for the publishing house of Ferdinando Gumppenberg in 1810, according to the leaflet. Some of the finer lines have become blurred in the intervening years, but the drawings of the characters are distinct and well made. There are some interesting graphical variants in the trumps that place this deck somewhere between the Marseilles style and the Swiss 1JJ deck. Lo Scarabeo's box text makes this deck out to have been drawn in a "neoclassical" style; it is true that many of the figures are bearded and toga'd, and the coins seem to feature Roman emperors.

The Pope and the Papess are still here, but Strength is once more Hercules or Samson wrestling a lion. On the Wheel of Fortune, Dame Fortuna reappears to turn the crank; the crowned fellow at the top is obviously human, as is the naked man at the bottom, but the ruler is pursued by a dog on the side of the wheel.

The Magician (Il Bagattelliere) is depicted as a travelling salesman, carrying around his wares in a tray, with a Napoleonic era bicorn cap. In the Lovers, a single woman is conversing with two male admirers. The Hermit looks down to confront a snake in his path. Temperance has three jugs, one on her shoulder, and she pours the water into one set on the ground. The Devil has lost his two supporters, and appears alone. On the Last Judgment, the risen dead seem to be rising from the flames.

The pip cards are attractive, even if they have no divinatory pictures and could be used for card playing as easily as divination. Refreshingly, the clubs and swords depict the appropriate number of discrete clubs or swords, rather than curved or straight lines to distinguish swords from rods as in the strict Marseilles tradition. Some of the Knights (Cavaliere) and some of the Pages (Fante) have their faces turned away from the viewer.

This beautiful deck includes the 78 –card Lombard Tarot and an instruction booklet.

Information from this page is populated from Llewellyn.com and Aecletic.com.





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