Alla Corte dei Trionfi –
In The Court of Trumps
Author: Morena Poltronieri, Ernesto Fazioli
I have had the very good fortune to be able to become familiar with the work of the Museo dei Tarocchi through the reviewing of a small portion of their decks. The only reason that I knew about them at all was due to my wonderful friend Arnell Ando, who works with the Museo dei Tarocchi to present their products in the U.S. (Arnell also acted as host for the U.S. version of the LiteraTarot deck project.)
“In The Court of Trumps” is a project that was commissioned by the Cultural Ministry of Rome. It is a 262 page book, with major portions translated into English by Poltronieri and Fazoli, with further editing of some sections by Arnell Ando. The is the second Italian book that has come my way – the first being “iL Tarocchino di Bologna”, by Andrea Vitali and Terry Zaneti. There was no English translation available – I purchased the book because of its intrinsic value due to the reputation of the authors and the scans of the cards themselves. It is interesting to note that this book was published under the auspices of the city of Bologna, just as “In The Court of Trumps” was commissioned by the Cultural Ministry of Rome.
The English portion of this book begins with commentary on the origins of the Tarot, covering such influences as China, India, Egypt, the Gipsies, Cabala, the cards of Fez, Morocco and the crusades. This is followed by a history of the Tarot in Italy, with commentary on things such as the social classes, the Arts, and the Liberal Arts. It is interesting to read about the various Italian decks, and see the influences behind the changes in them over time.
There is a very good section on the twenty-two Major Arcana, with a discussion of the card, followed by keywords for the upright and reversed positions. There are no scans in this section. From the section on the Empress: “This card refers to an image of woman far different from the previous High Priestess. Indeed, the Empress has within her the intrinsic values of women and an awareness of what that means. For this card conveys an ability to translate into reality the inner purposes found to be most indiscernible and exceptional in order to arrive at a comprehension that is both spiritual and material. The Empress exists where we feel strongly the need for a definition of ego, while the values of perception and reception remain active, seeking to seize the new incoming energy.”
Several reading templates are presented, including the Celtic Cross Simplified, the Complete Celtic Cross, the Six Question Spread, and a Pro and Con reading. Diagrams are presented on pages 56-58, in the Italian section of the book.
An almost hidden tid bit to this book is the small section listing the twenty-two Major Arcana cards, along with corresponding scents. The Magician: ” A sensual orchid unites with a mysterious rose to celebrate a jasmine in a revitalized essence which enforces the spirit of the wayfarer at the beginning of his/her course of journey, while between the lips blooms the flowers of anise, the energy of Mercury, which was together with food, drinking and medicine for the antique Egyptians …”
There is a section on the Museum and the surrounding area, with a bit of history and instructions on how to get there by car or train. There are no pictures of the museum in this book, but there will be future books that do show the museum and all that it is doing. More on the Museo dei Tarocchi can be seen here: Museo dei Tarocchi.
In the back of the book Italian and International correspondents write about their connection with the Tarot, a bit about their personal background and path. Amongst those included are Arnell Ando (U.S.), Fern Mercier (New Zealand), Giovanni Pelosini (Italy), Alberto Cesare Ambesi (Italy), and Swati Prakash (India).
There is a very, very special section at the end of the book showing color photographs of some of the Major Arcana decks that the Museo dei Tarocchi has published. There is a wide range of style and imagery here – it is absolutely stunning!
This is a book for collectors and scholars, yes, but it also has appeal for those who want to get a more European view of the descriptions of the Major Arana, or for those who are interested in the imagery of collaborative decks (although not all of the decks shown are collaborative decks).
© May 2009