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Robert ONeill Articles and Blogs

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Iconology of the Hermit Cards

IntroductionCard number 11, the Hermit, has five survivors from the 15th/16th century (Figure 1). All of the images show an old bearded man. Read More »

Iconology of the Hanged Man Cards

IntroductionFive of the extant 15th and 16th century Hangedman cards (#12) are shown in Figure 1. There is an additional fragment (Kaplan Volume 2, p. 286) that shows only the lower right hand corner of a card and does not add much. Read More »

Iconology of the Devil Cards

Introduction The reader may be surprised to find the Devil numbered 14. But this is the number that has probably the best argument for being the original. The various orderings of the 15/16th century cards are discussed in some detail by Dummett (1980). Read More »

Iconology of the Tower Cards

The early Tarot imagesThere are five surviving images of the Tower from the 15/16th centuries (Fig. 1). Four of the towers are square with doorways and four show rocks, hail, or masonry falling. Read More »

Iconology of the Heavens

Introduction Before we examine individually the iconology of the 16Star, 17Moon and 18Sun cards, it will be helpful to consider how the card-player would have viewed the Heavenly Spheres. Read More »

Iconology of the Star Cards

IntroductionIn the previous chapter we examined the Star, Moon, and Sun cards as representing the general concept of the Heavens. And, indeed, the majority of the related imagery from the 15/16th centuries shows these celestial bodies in various combinations. Read More »

Iconology of the Moon Cards

IntroductionThere are seven extant Moon cards from the 15/16th century (Fig. 1). Three of the cards show astrologers observing the moon and taking measurements. Read More »

Iconology of the Sun Cards

IntroductionSeven images of the Sun card have survived from the 15/16th centuries (Fig. 1). All of the images of the Sun are shown as a full circle with rays and a face. The rays are straight on 3, curved on three, and one card shows both curved and straight rays. Read More »

Iconology of the Justice Cards

IntroductionRecall that since we are adopting Dummett's (1980) Type B ordering, the next card in sequence is the Justice card, numbered 20. Read More »

Iconology of the World Cards

IntroductionFigure one shows the eight surviving World cards from the early Tarot. The modern viewer may be surprised to find that none of the oldest images correspond to the Tarot de Marseille card with a figure within a mandalora and four beasts. Read More »

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