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Huck  Huck is offline
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Straw hat debate




Rosanne brought the Straw Hat argument, somehow here ...

http://tarotforum.net/showthread.php...ight=straw+hat

... in January 2009. Part of the argument was, that the city Fermo was well known for their Straw Hats.

Ross recently (now July 2010) quoted Dummett (Game of Tarot) in another context and another forum with:

Quote:
"Footnote 39 reads: "Gregory 1940, p. 157, quotes this letter, asking the Duke to send to Sigismondo Malatesta a pack of "carte da trionfi de quelle fatte a Cremona", together with a straw hat, another speciality for which Cremona was famous. She quotes it again in Gregory 1958, p. 32, where the phrase is given slightly differently as "quelle carte da trionfi che se ne fanno a Cremona".
In the meantime we had found a second hat at the table of a magician in a children of the Moon picture c. 1480 ... in a Mantegna Tarocchi debate somewhere else or ... I don't know.



Well, this picture ... if it's larger, one can recognize it better.
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Thanks for the further information Huck. Here is a closer look at the hat (or is that two hats) although some quality is lost:

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As Huck mentioned, I do indeed think it is a straw hat and there is some tourist banter about this and the town of Fermo that interests me. I did buy a wonderful straw hat in Cremona to celebrate the Deck. I guess I have seen this though in the Children of the Planets as well- so it begs the question does it have a meaning?
Throwing your Hat in the ring?
I see you mean to stay a while?

I have not been able to find any proverbs medieval in Italian that might explain the hat on the table. It must have some meaning I am sure. I like the debtors version- meaning "you Owe me some money- pay up!"
Thanks Huck and Moonbow.
We get the word Millinery from Milan and the surrounding area of Lombardy because of fine straw hats.

~Rosanne
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I have just got out my notes on Hats and the Visconti because it the Visconti cards do look look like the Academy of Hats deck.....

The hat on the table that Huck showed is a German hat and denotes a traveling Man...... I cannot decipher my own writing as to the name of it.
But I did write this...(from somewhere????)

Quote:
The name etymology recalls the Greek verb petannymi referring to the action of ‘unfolding, ‘spreading out’ sails and ‘hanging out’ clothing, thus indicating a head dress with a brim.
This was the hat/s association with Hermes the Roman God Mercury- once more taking us to astrology for the decks of the Visconti. I think that the Hermit is Saturn because of subtle nod to his Jewishness. The more I look and read the more the deck looks astrological and associated with the Visconti/Sforza in this light; their fascination with astrology and civic pride rather than some Salvation theory for cards. That came nearly a hundred years later with the TdM like cards.

I keep thinking of those white plinth cards numbering 12 with the Chariot maybe as the Sun or Church etc. I need to get a life outside this deck.......
~Rosanne
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Somehow you don't reflect, what the quote says:

Dummett in a footnote:
Quote:
Footnote 39 reads: "Gregory 1940, p. 157, quotes this letter, asking the Duke to send to Sigismondo Malatesta a pack of "carte da trionfi de quelle fatte a Cremona", together with a straw hat, another speciality for which Cremona was famous. She quotes it again in Gregory 1958, p. 32, where the phrase is given slightly differently as "quelle carte da trionfi che se ne fanno a Cremona".
Whatever information Gregory had, according this Cremona is famous for straw hats, not Fermo (I don't mind, that Fermo ALSO was famous for straw hats).

The relevant deck with straw hat ...



... was made after 1450 (at least that's the general assumption cause the use of Sforza coins) and a little more precisely 1451 OR 1452, a suggestion based on an letter from Bianca Maria to Francesco Sforza ... we would like to see this letter, but this seems difficult ... in which it seems somehow clear, that Bianca Maria reflects a request of Sigismondo Malatesta for Trionfi cards from Cremona. The date is insecure, as some speak of 1451 and others from 1452 and the most precise, what we've heard, is November 1452.

So there's the suggestion, that this letter refer to one of the decks with the straw hat at the magician table (aka Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo-deck or better 14 Bembo trumps).
Somehow Gregory has captured from the letter (unknown to us), that a straw hat was involved in the activity (second item send to Malatesta). The reason is unknown, maybe ... if it's correct ... that it was simply harmless and meaningless accident.

For Fermo and its straw hats we have, that Francesco Sforza was thrown out of the city by a rebellion in winter 1445/1446. Sforza went to Pesaro from there.

For Cremona we have, that it is assumed, that Bembo produced there the relevant Tarot cards ... with straw hat. Cremona also was famous for straw hats (according Gregory). Sforza had been variously in Cremona after 1446. The deck is assumed to be produced 1451/52, not "before 1446".



The engraving with German hat (nobody says, that's it is a straw-hat) was made c. 1480, possibly reflecting iconographic Italian influences on German-Flemish artists ... that's not clear. It only repeats the hat feature, perhaps only, that these these Bateleur artists generally occasionally used a hat for some table magic.
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Here is a copy of an antique bust of Mercury with his straw hat. In the original you can see the plaiting on the hat.
http://www.gardenstatueshop.com/gard...source=pjn&sub

Apparently the straw is from the tall wheat grass shaft that grew all around the Po basin in Northern Italy. This was a German wheat apparently.

The first time there is any record of straw Hat making is Signa, a village near Florence, was entitled " the original seat of the industry." (From a consular report.) It is, therefore, almost safe to declare that the commercial life of the straw hat began in the district of Florence, and here, probably, for the first time in history, were to be found gathered together
in sufficiently large numbers to make their wares marketable, persons both male and female engaged in weaving straws into hats, or capelli, or in plaitting straws into braids, which were called paglia or plait.

Looks like Mercury's Hat to me on the Visconti Table.

~Rosanne
Yes I see the point about Cremona Huck...but I was more interested is it a hat? I am not sure about the magic tricks. It would fantastic if the letter was asking for the deck with the Straw hat. So there is no other deck that shows a straw hat except this one? It would seem not.
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Quote:
The date is insecure, as some speak of 1451 and others from 1452 and the most precise, what we've heard, is November 1452.
So if the letter was asking for cards of the Straw Hat that would seem to say the cards were already in circulation by 1452? It would also say that the cards were like "my" cards (Bianca's)? Now if that is so then the reproduction of the Cary Yale Magician is inaccurate provided that deck is the earlier? I take it that the letter indicates that an already available deck has a straw hat on the table, and that the gift from Francesco be a another copy. Poor Bembo. At least if he did do another copy with extra Sforza details- then the PMB was a better deck artistically in my opinion. It also possibly dates the PBM to after 1552- the anniversary of 10 years marriage? and the celebration of the peace of Lodi- so the devices could be used.
Thanks for these details Huck.
~Rosanne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosanne
So if the letter was asking for cards of the Straw Hat that would seem to say the cards were already in circulation by 1452? It would also say that the cards were like "my" cards (Bianca's)? Now if that is so then the reproduction of the Cary Yale Magician is inaccurate provided that deck is the earlier? I take it that the letter indicates that an already available deck has a straw hat on the table, and that the gift from Francesco be a another copy. Poor Bembo. At least if he did do another copy with extra Sforza details- then the PMB was a better deck artistically in my opinion. It also possibly dates the PBM to after 1552- the anniversary of 10 years marriage? and the celebration of the peace of Lodi- so the devices could be used.
Thanks for these details Huck.
~Rosanne
The assumption, that the deck which is discussed in the letter of 1451/52 had been a deck rather similar to the Bembo cards, is plausible.

In December 1450 Francesco Sforza had problems to get a Trionfi deck, so in this year it seems to have been the condition, that there was no own Trionfi card production at Milanese territory.
The production, which indirectly is noted by the letter of 1451/52 notes a production in Cremona and generally it is assumed, that the surviving cards called Visconti-Sforza Tarocchi were partly from Bembo, who had his workshop in Cremona.

Perhaps one has to observe the trivial factor in this matter. Bianca Mari was "first lady" in Italy.
When the "first lady" took her way to the relative poor Fermo, there was likely increased industry at this smaller location to satisfy the interests of a greater court. So possibly "straw hats" developed to become a famous article. But this court and the connected commissioners disappeared, when the Fermo rebellion 1445/46 caused Sforza to get out of the region.

When Bianca Maria went then to Cremona, also not such a big place, her presence caused the same as in Fermo: beside other items also elegant straw hats were needed, and surely the regional industry satisfied the wishes of the court. So both cities might have developed some straw hat production, which finally survived the earlier initiating presence of the first lady and somehow found entry in the general city qualities as "famous for their straw hat production".

Gregory seems to write about a real straw hat, and not a straw hat at the table of the Magician. But possibly there is a relation ...

All what we know, Trionfi cards were more something for women than for men. A card deck and a straw hat for Sigismondo Malatesta likely means a card deck and a straw hat for Isotta degli Atti, his well-known lover. In the case, that it really had been in November, that the letter exchange took place, possibly a Christmas present? Playing cards were of special use in the Christmas time.
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You know what I find odd about this letter Huck?

I thought it would be unlikely that there would be correspondence between the Sforza household and Malatesta. He was married to Sforza's daughter Polissena, and she died in mysterious circumstances. He was apparently not a nice man, but a womaniser also, and I cannot see Bianca sending a Straw Hat for his mistress. That does not sit well with most women even in those days. He was not on good terms with Bianca's husband even when he fought for him and he was not included in the Peace of Lodi some two years later than this deck is asked for.
Are the dates for sure?

The only thing I can think of that it was a to be a Christmas gift for Giovanna- Bianca's step granddaughter Polissena's child? who would have been about 8 or 9 years old. Then would have a deck been painted in a month? Seems a big ask of a busy studio of Bembo?
~Rosanne
PS Perhaps the Straw hat is a code of some sort- like the indebtedness a straw hat would imply.
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Quote:
Passa al servizio dello Sforza. La condotta durerà fino al settembre del 1452; gli è concessa una provvigione di 25000 ducati l’anno.
http://www.condottieridiventura.it/c...%20Brescia.htm

This describes the relations of Malatesta/Sforza in September 1451.

In 1452 August Malatesta fights for Florence. Florence and Milan have an alliance at this time.

Quote:
Preliminary translation of Pizzagalli:
(by Ross Gregory Caldwell)
A large part of her time was also occupied in written correspondence, she having personal contact with the whole court. At the same time she maintained correspondence rich in subjects outside of politics: shown, for example, in the request which she received from Sigismondo Malatesta, in November 1452, for a pack of the famous hand-painted trump cards from the highly praised artisans of Cremona … Bianca Maria did not have the slightest desire to have a deck of cards made for Malatesta, on the contrary she feared of not knowing how to disguise enough her undying hostility for him, so much that when Francesco personally ordered the tarocchi at Cremona, she thanked him for “lifting this burden off my hands”, in the text of her response to Sigismondo, authorizing her husband to make modifications.
http://trionfi.com/0/e/08/

That's what Pizzagalli analyzes from the letter ... no guarantee, that this is correct. Other reports vary in detail till the point, that even the date is not clear.
There seem to have been three letters Malatesta to Bianca, Bianca to husband, Sforza to Malatesta, but it seems, that only Bianca to husband survived.

Well, the story is running around, that Malatesta killed Polissena, true or untrue.
It seems undisputable true, that Pope Pius around 1460 didn't like Malatesta. Also it's true, that Montefeltro didn't like Malatesta, probably most of the time.

In Juli 1461 the Chiesa and Rimini fought a battle ... the Chiesa lost in a shameful way (Malatesta had less men and made 1500 prisoners). The pope didn't like that.
http://www.condottieridiventura.it/t...toria/1460.htm

A year later Montefeltro fought for the Chiesa against Rimini and this battle had better results (in the eyes of the applauding pope).
In this period Malatesta was even excommunicated. The furious pope fought then with all possible verbal attacks to give Malatesta a bad name.

Montefeltro instead got a glorious name by popes and renaissance researchers ...
http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/d...385524681.html
...

It's difficult to say, what's true or not true in such stories.

Quote:
PS Perhaps the Straw hat is a code of some sort- like the indebtedness a straw hat would imply.
Perhaps Sforza showed some calculated pride on the low social state of his ancestors with the straw hat symbol?
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