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Games of Four Directions


There is a man called Stewart Culin (July 13, 1858 - 1929) and he had an interest in games/gambling and divination.

I have an interest in the same things and was looking at Tarot from the aspect of the original Ludo game called Parcshisi which is a cross and circle game.
Now Mr Culin thought.......
Quote:
Many modern discussions of the religious, magical, or divinatory genesis of board games stem from the work of Stewart Culin who postulated a single source: the "classification of all things according to the Four Directions" by means of divinatory arrows, and that "survivals of these magical processes constitute our present games" (including all dice, board, card, and domino games). He quotes, for example, an "account of the Zuńi War Gods" which explicitly links divination, the 4 quarters of the earth, and games.
Now as we know Playing cards and Tarot also has four suits as does all cross and circle games like Parchisi (and Ludo). Cross and circle boards may suggest a variety of mystical, symbolic, or esoteric designs such as mandalas; sun and earth symbols.

One thing in the History of Parchisi is the following.........
Quote:
The Indian Emperor Akbar I of the 16th century Mogul Empire, apparently played pachisi on great courts constructed of inlaid marble. He would sit in the center of the court and throw the cowry shells. On the red and white squares around him, 16 beautiful women from the harem, appropriately coloured, would move around according to his directions.
Culin apparently thought this was Divination rather than a race game.


1896: Chess and Playing-Cards (monograph)

Annual Report of the U.S. National Museum, Washington, D. C.: United States Government Printing Office, pp. 665-942. Comprehensive exploration of chess, playing cards, and other table and board games as played in Europe, Asia, North America, and South America. Written by Stewart Culin.

I have not been able to find this 952 page Journal. I would like to read it.
Anybody know anything of it?

Rosanne
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I think this is the book referred to -

http://ia311339.us.archive.org/2/ite...bo1896smit.pdf

"Chess and Playing-Cards" is on pages 665-942.

Ross
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Thank you Ross!
Unfortunately this link won't download for me.

~Rosanne
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I Opened it in a New Window. It worked for me - using Firefox.

Bee

eta: Ooops. It's over 100MB.
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Not much to European playing cards ... a lot of material about possible forerunners of European playing cards and objects, which somehow were similar to playing cards.
Interesting in the aspect, that playing cards likely came from China.
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Thanks Huck!

I was working on dividing the Visconti PMB into four directions to see if there was anything visually that grouped them like the order they were accepted in 50-100 years later. I think I have mentioned this before. It just reminded me of Cross and Circle board games that used dice to get to the center. Teams of Four groups of 19 or 16 cards formed into recognizable melds. Something like that anyway
Well the 'Direction upwards' is pretty obvious.

~Rosanne
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These Trionfi decks have 5 suits, not 4.

Well, each cross form has a center, so it really doesn't change much.


Popess-Empress-Emperor-Empress
... Magician with 4 suit signs at the table

Love-Chariot-Justice-Hermit
... Fortuna with wheel with 4 persons

Normal card deck:

Ace
... 2-3-4-5

6-7-8-9 ...
Banner (10)

Ace and 10 are usually distinguished by "nice painting".
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huck

Popess-Empress-Emperor-Empress
... Magician with 4 suit signs at the table

Love-Chariot-Justice-Hermit
... Fortuna with wheel with 4 persons

Exactly. So visually you can see this. You can group them without the numbers, and they follow a plan.
Popess/Empress/Emperor/Pope =all on thrones
Lovers/Chariot/Justice/Wheel =little people
Hermit/Force/HM/Temperance = Hand action people
Then Death like in Chasing the Goose early board Game (turning point)
Star/Moon/Sun
Then Heaven down here- Heaven up there The Fool and the starter Bateleur.

So all that is out of place is The Hermit and in some deck examples he is not 9 and WOF is not 10 and Justice seems to move about a little.

~Rosanne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosanne
Exactly. So visually you can see this. You can group them without the numbers, and they follow a plan.
Popess/Empress/Emperor/Pope =all on thrones
Lovers/Chariot/Justice/Wheel =little people
Hermit/Force/HM/Temperance = Hand action people
Then Death like in Chasing the Goose early board Game (turning point)
Star/Moon/Sun
Then Heaven down here- Heaven up there The Fool and the starter Magician.

So all that is out of place is The Hermit and in some deck examples he is not 9 and WOF is not 10 and Justice seems to move about a little.

~Rosanne
Mm ...

Fortuna has 4 persons around her, one of them an old man. The Hermit is an old man. In which aspect it's out of place - in the Milanese deck?

He's 11 in Ferrara, cause Ferrara had another grouping ... and another view of the hermit. The Milanese Hermit (that which we know) has a sand clock (signified as father time), the Ferrarese was crippled (more signified as "aged and sick", though somehow also Father time). The Florentine (Charles VI) also preferred a sand clock.

All Ferrarese cards from 11-15 are bad cards

11 Hermit, crippled
12 Traitor
13 Death
14 Devil
15 Tower

The Ferrarese used a 5-5-5-5 order for the inner 20 cards (without 0 and 21). The 3rd "5" had the theme "bad".

Perhaps the motifs:
The Este generation of Borso mostly died young. So possibly Father Time got a bad face in Ferrara.
In Milan Filippo Maria was crippled himself ... so he didn't like a crippled Father Time. The Medici had similar problems - so again a relative good looking Father Time.

*********

The 14 Bembo special cards likely were connected to numbers from begin on. It was 5x14-deck and so they had to find an equation to the small arcana and those had numbers.

Decks, which had a stronger relation to Chess NOT necessarily had a connection to numbers (chess figures have no numbers). Numbers at the cards would give some harm to the basic idea.
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I think we are at odds (not only about who the Hermit is)
I was playing women and children's games.

We have a deck that is unnumbered (Visconti PMB) and later we have numbered decks.
I was trying to see visually if I could put the cards into groups in some manner or other that could show a run of cards. This could then show a justification for them to be numbered as in the later decks.

so I will call them flowers.

4 lilies - on thrones white painted plinths
4 daisy -smaller painted people
4 tulip - standing with weapons or staffs or something in their hands
1 tulip - you can't see hands, but hands stand out even if you can't see them.
3 Rose- look alike ladies holding symbols
3 violets- children or putti indicating something triumphant
1 snapdragon - seated Man, not on plinth with four articles knife/pen/vessel/walnuts : and a spare hat

So you have to start somewhere.....who looks like they start the sequence and lets call that flower Number 1. There is also seems to be groups of 4

Not that I did not enjoy what you had to say Huck- we were just on different train tracks. I forgot the Ferranese had Hermit at 11. I Like your interpretation as to why he was classy old man. Do not agree though.
~Rosanne
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