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When Did Minor Arcana Illustration Change


MuninnMissinHuginn
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MuninnMissinHuginn

When did, and why did, the pictures for the minor arcana change from simple depictions of the suits?   Meaning a picture of two swords change to two people with swords, etc. 

Also, prior to the more illustrative minor arcana were the cards interpreted solely with numerology (and what flavor) mixed with the suit meaning?  

 

If this has already been discussed elsewhere, all apologies, and could a link be placed?

 

Thank you.

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AlbaTross

I believe that can be attributed to Arthur Waite, Pamela Smith and Rider & Son in 1909 with the creation of the Rider Waite Smith deck tradition, but maybe someone who's more of an expert on the subject could come up with an example from earlier than that.  To my understanding, Arthur Waite wanted to create a deck that streamlined the process of Tarot reading and made it accessible to and able to be understood by most people.  Having pictures for the number cards of the Minor Arcana made it easier for people.  Keep in mind, you can still get decks of the more traditional TdM deck tradition that use pips instead of pictures for those particular cards.  

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The first fully illustrated pips were - as far as I know - in the late 15th century Sola Busca deck, and Colman Smith took much of her inspiration from it.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sola_Busca_tarot

 

As an aside, I don't think you can say they "changed" - Marseille decks are still very much with us; they are separate traditions - and we also need to think of GD and Thoth pips - also very different.

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I think I'd been using cards for about 15 years before I realized Waite didn't invent the world 🙂

there are some wonderful illustrations of the Sola Busca here, one of my very favorite decks.

https://www.openculture.com/2019/04/behold-the-sola-busca-tarot-deck-the-earliest-complete-set-of-tarot-cards-1490.html

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MuninnMissinHuginn

@DanielJUK  thank you!

 

@AlbaTross and @gregory  thank you for the information about the illustrations on the minor cards.


@AJ-ish/Sharyn  thank you! That is a beautiful deck!  And this forum has opened my eyes to more than RWS 🙂.

 

2 hours ago, gregory said:

I don't think you can say they "changed"

Fair play.  I am really not knowledgeable at all.  I was thinking about how it seems the newer tarot decks I see on line mostly have illustrated number cards, and that is a really narrow window to look through. 
 

 

2 hours ago, gregory said:

think of GD and Thoth pips

I am sorry, what is GD? I know Thoth….
 

 I only own two decks at this time and both are historical decks. I am struggling to understand the basic thinking behind the number cards.  So what AlbaTross say is completely understandable.

 

6 hours ago, AlbaTross said:

To my understanding, Arthur Waite wanted to create a deck that streamlined the process of Tarot reading and made it accessible to and able to be understood by most people.

 

I would like to know, based on what idea did the number cards get their meanings? And therefore the “stories” the number cards show in the RWS deck. Are most “story” number cards based on the RWS deck.

 

The major arcana seems to be big philosophical themes, like the virtues, the “face” cards of the minor arcana seem to be personalities, but the number cards…..

I realize this is probably a HUGE can of something, with no simple answer. (The interpretation of number cards seems wildly varied, more so than the remaining cards).

 

I guess I need a place to stand in the kitchen, and looking around I’ll chose the ingredients to grab to make a meal.  But with the number cards, I don’t know if I should stand in front of the stove and cook, or oven and bake, the sink and peel.  (Ha, ha with this metaphor, horrible cook that I am.)

 

Thanks for any further help, and understanding my fumbling question.

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8 hours ago, gregory said:

As an aside, I don't think you can say they "changed" - Marseille decks are still very much with us; they are separate traditions - and we also need to think of GD and Thoth pips - also very different.


This. It didn't develop in a straight, linear way, it's more like the form of a tree. You might put the Visconti decks at the roots. Then you have the trunk coming up, the TdM type decks, with a Sola Busca branch splitting off from it. That, in turn, could have another RWS branch splitting off from it. The RWS branch could split into Thoth, Golden Dawn, and RWS based decks.

 

That's just the Tarot way of doing it. If you wanted, you could split the trunk into TdM, "regular" playing cards, and Sibilla type decks. And so forth. You could get really elaborate with it, or not. It doesn't matter much, and I'm not going to nitpick how someone else would form the tree. The main thing is that you're not looking at it as a single straight line.

 

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MuninnMissinHuginn
3 hours ago, katrinka said:

The main thing is that you're not looking at it as a single straight line.

 

That makes sense.  Thank you.

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