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variantventures 
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Join Date: 19 Apr 2014
Location: Colorado, United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludophone View Post
Dummett wrote that the first four are in "the private collection of Dr Edmund de Unger". I'll provide the catalogue numbers if that will help. Keep in mind that these are the designations they had around 1980 when he published The Game of Tarot so things may have changed.

1) The familiar half card is I-27

2) Ace? of cups is I-28

3) 2? of swords is I-51

4) 4? of coins is I-52

5) The Benaki card is 9b

In addition, Dummett also cites another fragment which he doubts is a playing card but may be a coin suit card. Its Benaki catalogue number is 9c.

The following fragments may or may not be playing cards:

A) Mounted viceroy as de Unger 1-31

B) A seated king holding something in the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo (15610/4-1)
The museum sent me a PDF with a few thumbnails to confirm which objects I'm requesting to view.

The catalog numbers are written I.027, I.028, I.051, and I.052 in the current version of the catalog. Those numbers are old/alternate. The new catalog numbers are: K.1.2014.1132, K.1.2014.1133, K.1.2014.1156, K.1.2014.1157. I've seen thumbnails of the fragments taken from the catalog. I.027/ K.1.2014.1132 was recognizable and it appears an organic yellow was used for the coloring. I.028/ K.1.2014.1133 was recognizable from the shape but the details of the artwork could not be made out. I could really only spot the cup because I knew what to look for. I.051/ K.1.2014.1156 was fairly legible but I couldn't make out any details that looked like a sword. This fragment is also cruder in execution than the other fragments and, if it is a playing card, it would be much smaller than any Islamic style card I'm aware of. I.052/ K.1.2014.1157 is fairly difficult to make out. There are two visible circles that might be surrounded by floral elements in the same manner as the Topkapi coins. The remains of red pigment are visible on the fragment.

I still haven't heard back from the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo.
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variantventures 
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And I heard back from the Museum of Islamic Art today. They described the four fragments that fall under catalog number 15610/4-1 thus:
Quote:
15610/4-1 is four papers , the first paper is bearing part of a horseman on his horse , the second paper is bearing a depiction of a horse with human head , the third paper is bearing part of human is sitting ,the fourth paper is bearing a woman is sitting in a Hodge of camel
They have informed me of the cost of obtaining electronic images of these items and as soon as I find out how to get them the money I will do so.
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variantventures 
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My request to view the de Unger card fragments has been approved. Last chance to make photo or examination requests.

I have been unable to transfer money to the Museum of Islamic Art. I am still trying to work this out.
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Ludophone 
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I'm not a photographer so I'll leave it to your best judgement. I assume you're making 90 and 45 degree photos of the front and back?
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variantventures 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludophone View Post
I'm not a photographer so I'll leave it to your best judgement. I assume you're making 90 and 45 degree photos of the front and back?
That's the plan. I plan to look for, and photograph, any details I can find related to the construction of the fragments and details of the designs. I imagine the fragments are mounted and I won't be able to get images of the backs. If the opportunity presents itself I hope to measure the thickness of the fragments.
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variantventures 
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Good news, bad news. Saw the fragments, they are amazing. Number 4 is definitely a coins card and it's bigger than the Topkapi cards. Number 1, the familiar fragment, has a lot of faded colors (red, green? blue?) and has traces of gold leaf. The bad news is I can't share the photos. I'm trying to figure out the best way to convey the information I have gathered short of going through the publication process.
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variantventures 
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I'm going to put together a report I can share using sketches of the cards. It's going to take me a little while. Item I.052 was the big surprise of this trip. The thumbnail from the collection database that I saw had this card displayed sideways. In the correct orientation it's 11 inches tall by 3.75 inches wide. It has at least 3 coins, in the Topkapi style, and a fragment of what looks like a crescent element. The orientation is uncertain but the arching that occurs at the top of the Topkapi cards is at one end of the card and is surmounted by a writing box (such as those that contain the phrases or court designations) that has no apparent writing in it. I was stunned when I saw this card as it's quite clearly using the same design principles as the Topkapi cards but is from a different deck.

These cards were also very thin, being composed of perhaps two layers of very thin paper. The use of gold leaf/ink was found on three of the fragments. This was very surprising to me given the relatively thin cards. I would have thought gold ink wouldn't survive much flexing of the paper. The red borders on the cards were also a big surprise to me.

Right now I think that I.027 is a four of cups. At the very bottom of the fragment there is a black mark that appears to be part of a horizontal line. This line is spaced at the same distance as the border at the right side of the fragment and the bottom of the fragment seems to bear red pigment that matches the red pigment coloring the right border of the fragment. The box above this 'border' has an interior outline and shows traces of gold ink/paint which indicates to me it was the box found at the bottom of cards.
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