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The Medieval Housebook


In another thread, The "Medieval Housebook" was mentioned, it's very interesting and may lead to some great discussion.

Here's what one site says about it:
"Although this manuscript has long been called a "Housebook," it is not, as the name might suggest, a manual of housekeeping, baking-hints, home-repairs, or even planting, harvesting, and brewing.

Some of these concerns are indeed addressed and included in the illustrations. But it is primarily a curious collection of texts and visuals, prepared by various artists, covering a range of lordly & noble concerns.

These include Medieval Warfare, Defense of Castles, Medicine, Mining, Smelting, Minting, Fireworks, Heraldry, and Tournaments. There is also a charming section devoted to the Children of the Planets and those who are born under their zodiacal signs.

Curiously, there is a mysterious nobleman who guides the reader through the various disparate sections of the Housebook. Even though texts and illustrations have been created by more than one scribe or artist, this gentleman wears the Order of the Pitcher over his left shoulder throughout. And he shows the varied visuals to a female companion—as well as to the reader of the Housebook."


I hope to learn more about this fascinating piece of history, and the possible connections to Tarot.
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Here are some of the images from the Housebook showing the "Children of the Planets"

Moon
Venus
Mars
Jupiter
Saturn

I can't find the Children of the Sun, so if anyone has a link to add, or to any other images from the Housebook that might be of interest, please add them.
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...and Mercury!?!

Wonderful to have these images.

In some ways, they are reminiscent of not only De sphera (made for the young Sforza count), but of the wonderful reminders they provide that certain images, such as the Moon Marseille, are likely to have something of the Crustacean depicted thereon.

What I find fascinating includes, again, some of the similarities in detail between this and the De Sphera depiction, including the table and gamblers (reminiscent of the Bateleur) - it would be useful to also see whether the Mercury rendition has something of similarity (something I noted early, but also check What's the 5x14-theory posts 7 & 8, where Ross Caldwell points to the Moon as more likely).

Looking forward to more insights into these and similar types of images!
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Here's a view of "Luna" that appears
mostly in a screen sized viewing...
Attached Images
 
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I am just making comment that from the Luna picture above from Fulgour - something that I noticed which was discussed in another thread which although not astrological helps me understanding the PCS drawing - 6 of wands- the full 'bard' on the horse. Thankyou for the image Fulgour.
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Discussing details of the Children of the Moon - The Bateleur.



There are so many fascinating things to look at in this image.. but to us Tarot Enthusiasts.. probably the first thing we notice is the "bateleur" on the bottom right of the image.

While there are certainly big differences (round table, plain hat, position of the figure... etc) the image is very striking.

I think there can be little doubt that this portion of the image is related to the Bateleur of the Tarot.

Ross G. Caldwell has an excellent page discussing the Bateleur iconography here:
http://www.angelfire.com/space/tarot/bagatella.html

What strikes me as very intriguing is that the Bateleur, who is clearly shown as such with his baton, cups, dice.. also seems to be shown as a Dentist!

Is the Bateleur using some kind of device to extract a tooth? Is that why the "next person in line" has the handkerchief around his head? (Which makes me think of toothaches)

And how odd is that? It makes me think of "Barber-Dentists", where both trades were practiced by the same person.

And what of that huge banner behind him showing the "tumbler/gymnast/acrobat" in many different positions? Is that to be associated with him as well?

Another really interesting feature is the hat on the table. When I first looked at the image I thought it was the hat of the "patient". Then I noticed that the hat of the patient was at his feet. The hat makes me think of other discussions we've had on this forum about the object on the right side of the card.. sometimes called Hat, or Cake, or Book, or Bag, or perhaps even other items.

Here's the Sforza-Visconti Tarot as an example:



and the Bateleur from the Jean Dodal Tarot:



Of course, I'm not suggesting that the Bateleur is based on this image... but it is interesting to look at such a close cousin, from such a close time.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by le pendu
What strikes me as very intriguing is that the Bateleur, who is clearly shown as such with his baton, cups, dice.. also seems to be shown as a Dentist!

Is the Bateleur using some kind of device to extract a tooth? Is that why the "next person in line" has the handkerchief around his head? (Which makes me think of toothaches)
Nice insight Robert! The mountebank can also be seen as a quack. There is a long tradition of this association.

My first thought would be to compare it with Bosch's "The Conjurer", where the Conjurer is making a frog come out of the "patient's" mouth, while he is getting pickpocketed by the Conjurer's accomplice behind -

http://www.fictionwise.com/knight/boschten.html (scroll down for an enlargement of the frog)

http://www.fsu.edu/~arh/events/athan...I_Gertsman.pdf

Google "+bosch +conjurer" both in regular and images to come up with a large number of images and wickedly insightful essays.

Quote:
And how odd is that? It makes me think of "Barber-Dentists", where both trades were practiced by the same person.

And what of that huge banner behind him showing the "tumbler/gymnast/acrobat" in many different positions? Is that to be associated with him as well?
Yes - these guys put on travelling shows (the trumpet-player/fool beside him is probably part of his team), which included acrobatic feats. They grew into what we know as the Circus today.

Quote:
Another really interesting feature is the hat on the table. When I first looked at the image I thought it was the hat of the "patient". Then I noticed that the hat of the patient was at his feet. The hat makes me think of other discussions we've had on this forum about the object on the right side of the card.. sometimes called Hat, or Cake, or Book, or Bag, or perhaps even other items.
I think the V-S is a fur hat; somewhere I compared Bembo's depictions of fur in the Lancelot of the Lake miniatures with this on the table, and it is the same kind of brush/pen-stroke. I would think the Hausbuch is the same thing - it belongs to the magician, for the show. So as a hat, it serves the same purpose that the Top-hat does for modern magicians - to pull things out of by magic, or to make things disappear.
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I know that R. Place mentions an association of Le Bateleur as being "the King of the Carnival at his feast" - or words to that effect. His being a doctor of sorts does seem to fit - especially as a "quack"! Thanx for a really interesting thread!
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Tarot was born under a good Star


Thank you all for this thread!

You can find more images here:
http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/hsb_exhibover.shtm
http://copial.de/hb_%20asto.htm
http://online-media.uni-marburg.de/k...bildungen.html

In general, I think the German Hausbuch is the most common reference to this text (and his author).

The page by Ross suggested by Robert is excellent indeed.

After reading Seznec, I started a page on tarotpedia about the idea the Tarot has an astrological origin. Actually, I am far from convinced of this, but I think the investigation of the influence of astrology on tarot is important. The Bagat from the Hausbuch and from the De Predis De Sphaera really seem to be relevant. I also think the Schifanoia Frescos in Ferrara have something seriously Tarot-like....well, they are in the form of a Triumph of the Planetary Gods

And the hanged man ia a Child of Saturn, the Visconti Sforza Strength is a Child of Mars, the Lovers are Children of Venus (the Star), the Marseille Moon has her astrological Cancer. After all, Astrology in the XV century was a respected model of the Universe, isn't it natural to think that it must have had some kind of influence on the birth of Tarot?

Marco
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I'm open to all kinds of theories (of course!) as to the influence of astrological schemas on the tarot trumps.

But I like to play cautiously...

My thought as to the relation of the Hausbuch image and the Bagatto is that the designer decided to place a magician (conjurer, deceiver, mountebank, huckster, hustler, entertainer, con-man, etc.) at the beginning of the series - his natural companion is a Fool - but a fool moves around, so he has no fixed place, whereas the magician is behind a table - and that the most common image to be found of this person was in the "Children of the Planets" type books. So - tarot artists modeled their magician on it.

Thus, I see no direct *astrological* implications to his presence in the tarot sequence. But, clearly, anybody who knows the children of the Moon images would make the association.

The Children of Mercury also shows people behind tables - he is the god of merchants, for one thing. And some early lists of trumps call this figure an "inn-keeper" or "taverner", so he could be selling drinks. Later traditions make him a peddlar, haberdasher, or even a shoemaker - but always, he has to be behind the table. The point being, one could say, "you pays your money, and you takes your chances", whatever it is he is selling.

A straightforward application of the planets to the first seven cards has never worked out for me - Saturn is the problem.

0-Fool-Moon ("lunatic")
1-Bag.-Mercury
2-Empress or Papessa - Venus
3-Papessa or Empress - Sun (iffy - Papessa as "Dame Doctrine"?)
4-Emperor-Mars
5-Pope-Jupiter
6-Love or Temperance (B order)-Saturn???

Bumping them down one by taking the Fool out works even less.

All of the planets can be interpreted as present IN the trumps, but I can't find a method to it. Even the Minchiate didn't include them... does that mean they saw them there already?

I guess I just think that the tarot designer wasn't making a cosmogony like that. The purpose was different.
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