Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Tarot



Last year, the bunny showed to me her set of tarot cards in a green corduroy pouch. The cards were different from the illustrations of the most popular deck,
Rider-Waite tarot deck, illustrated by Pamela Coleman Smith for a mystic Arthur Edward A.E. Waite. Still, when I first saw them personally, I was amazed by their obscure meanings behind the strange gestures and positions of the characters. I am quite interested to their symbolism and meanings, and also in their history. Somehow, their intricate allegorical details of these images still haunt me, leading to curiosity on how did these people manage to create such a bizarre and haunting symbols that are usually difficult to understand in our times, that the meaning behind the symbols of the figures had been almost forgotten, or at least arcane in the passage of time and in view of the various readings and contexts by which the present people are now able to read them with.


They said that Tarot card came from Egypt and brought to Europe about 12th century. But the first known Tarot card created about 13th century in Italy, particularly in Bologna. The Europeans added allegorical figures from the four suit deck, and they are called carte da trionfi or triumph cards. The oldest surviving Tarot card are painted for the Visconti-Sforza family, the rulers of Milan during their time. Later on, in the 18th century,
the cards are filled with some sort of divination or extraordinary powers. Until the cards became not just a mere playing but possessed powers and even can predict the future.

Probably so far, my favorite illustrations of the Tarot were painted by Hieronymous Bosch. They were as eccentric as his other paintings, adding grotesque figures like gnarled monsters. Aside from Bosch, there are also cards painted by one of my favorite Flemish painters, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, wherein he usually featured peasants. There is also cards by Albrecht Durer, and he probably executed this in watercolor. You can look their works
here


I illustrated my own version of the cards almost three years ago. But I did only two, The Sun and Death. The story behind it is that I had a friend who I knew could read the Tarot cards (Aside from the bunny who also know how to read it). Just for entertainment, I decided to consult her using her cards and her skills in reading it. I remembered some of the cards that appeared and I decided to illustrate two of them.
But I cannot recall now what she said about the meaning of the cards from that reading.

3 comments:

Bunnicula said...

Your illustrations in here were so different! Bet you could do better now. I miss your art! When can we get to see newer ones? Post! Post! :) ()

Candie Bracci said...

Isn't it fascinating?I also love Tarot cards,they teach you so much about yourself and the different aspects of your personality.It is fascinating that you are able to do your own illustartion and the things those two powerful cards inspires you.Great work.

I wanted to create a blog about Tarot,posting a card and letting the readers see what that card would inspire them,but then I changed my mind cause I think those things should stay private as it is a language of higher power that needs to be used to help others and yourself but not in public and not exposed to the ones who are not ready to understand that there is so much more behind.

Fascinating!

Manoj Dogra said...

Hi
Keep it up