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Floskaartjes


Hi.

I've been meaning to tell you guys about a type of little cards I encountered last year - I thought some might find them interesting, especially because there's some similarity to tarot cards. These particular sets of cards are known as Floskaartjes, though they have many other names, and are generally classified as 'popular prints'. Very little is known about them and little has been written about them, even though they were widely produced in the Netherlands and Belgium from at least the 17th to far in the 19th century. There are no editions known of any other countries as far as I'm aware, and the oldest sheet is preserved in a museum in Ghent.

The Floskaartjes consist of 36 numbered cards of 18 pairs, with Dutch/Flemish titles. There are 17 male-female pairs that start with Keizer (Emperor) and Keizerin (Empress) and go all the way down the social ranks to the Dienstknecht (Manservant) and Dienstmeid (Maid). Interestingly, the final pair is formed by Leven (Life) and Dood (Death). The cards were used by children to play games, and it is thought that, symbolically, they functioned as a sort of Memento Mori - in fact, at the top of some of the sheets, one can read this short, rather macabre rhyme (with my not very literal translation below):

Deezí prente strekke u, lieve jeugd!
Tot tijdverdrijf, vermaak en vreugd
En leere u, hoe, van keizer af,
Elks deel op ít laatsten is het graf.


_____

These pictures serve, sweet youth!
As pastime and joy, and that's the truth,
They teach you, how, from the emperor on,
In the end everyone to the grave will have gone.

As I said, there's an Emperor, an Empress and a Death, and there's also a Bisschop (Bishop) and a Bisschopsvrou[w] (Bishop's Wife), although Catholic printers replaced the latter with an Abtdis (Abbess), Bisschopsmeid (Bishop's Maid) or Verhevene Vrouwe (Elevated Woman). The similarities with the Emperor, Empress, Death, Pope and Popess of the tarot are obvious, and I assume that's why some authors have even gone as far as to suggest that the Floskaartjes developed out of the tarot, although that seems just a tad far-fetched to me. Here are the relevant cards of a beautifully designed 18th-century sheet by Nicolaas Muys (the entire sheet can be seen here): the Emperor is depicted with a sword and globus cruciger, the Empress with a bird of some sort (an eagle or even a griffin?), the Bishop with a staff and the Bishop's Wife with a lamb and perhaps something in her hands; Life shows a young boy blowing bubbles near a vase with flowers and some sort of smoke column (all symbolizing the fragility of life, I guess) and Death a skeleton with an hourglass and a scythe. Here are those of a 19th-century edition by Mindermann en Company: this time the Emperor is only holding a scepter, the Empress is merely crowned and dressed in long robes, the Bishop wears a miter and holds a crosier, the Abbess wears a veil and her face is turned away from view, Life shows a young boy blowing bubbles near the ocean, and Death's skeleton is again holding an hourglass and scythe.

There are lots and lots of other examples of sheets, some crudely made, others very finely engraved.

Spoon
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Thumbs up really interesting!


Thanks so much for the information, Spoonbender. I've been collecting "things resembling Tarot" these twenty years but never realized such an animal is lurking in Europe. Now I'm going to ride out for the hunting!
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Floskaartjes


A wonderful and - I think - critical insight.
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Thanks Spoonbender!

They're fascinating to look at, and I'd sure love to learn more.

If you have the time someday, could you create a list of each of the names?

Thanks again for sharing this with us.
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Thanks a lot for the interest!!

I have to say I've really fallen in love with the Floskaartjes since I first encountered them - they're very cute and were primarily intended to be a children's game, but at the same time they're kind of macabre, highly symbolic and have three cards with the same titles as in a tarot deck! It's also pretty cool that the Bishop's Wife, just like the Popess, apparently lead to some controversy and was replaced (which kind of ruined the consistency of the male-female pairs).

I'd love to be able to see what that oldest extant sheet - or perhaps it is a wood block - looks like. I might just try to make an appointment with the curator of that museum in Ghent... and take some pictures, of course.

I'll post a list with the names of the other couples later today.

Spoon
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OK, I'm back with a list of all the cards.

(I've given all the names as they appear on the 18th-century sheet of Nicolaas Muys, followed, if need be, by the present-day Dutch spelling. The English names are obviously in italics. Also, please note that the cards could be numbered in descending OR ascending order.)

First of all there's the nobility and clergy:
Keyser/Keizer - Keyserin/Keizerin
Emperor - Empress

Coninc/Koning - Coningin/Koningin
King - Queen

Bisschop - Bisschopsvrou/Bisschopsvrouw [Abdisse, Bisschopsmeid, Verhevene vrouw]
Bishop - Bishop's Wife [Abbess, Bishop's Maid, Elevated Woman]

Prins - Princes/Prinses
Prince - Princess

Vorst - Vorstin
Sovereign - Female Sovereign

Graef/Graaf - Gravinne/Gravin
Count - Countess

Joncker/Jonker - Jonckersvrou/Jonk(ers)vrouw
Nobleman - Noblewoman
Then there are those with arms, of a more military nature:
Jager - Jagersvrou/Jagersvrouw
Hunter - Hunter's Wife

Capitein/Kapitein - Capiteinsvrou/Kapiteinsvrouw
Captain - Captain's Wife

Vaendrager/Vaandeldrager - Vaendragersvrou/Vaandeldragersvrouw
Standard-bearer - Standard-bearer's Wife

Soldaet/Soldaat - Soldaetsvrou/Soldaatsvrouw
Soldier - Soldier's Wife
Then there's the "lower" classes:
Coopman/Koopman - Coopmansvrou/Koopmansvrouw
Merchant - Merchant's Wife

Bode - Bodinne/Bodin
Courier - Female Courier

Schipper - Schippersvrou/Schippersvrouw
Skipper - Skipper's Wife

Ambachtsman - Ambachtsvrou/Ambachtsvrouw
Artisan - Female Artisan

Lantman/Landman - Boerrinne/Boerin
Countryman (Farmer) - Female Farmer

Dienstknecht - Dienstmeyt/Dienstmeid
Manservant - Maid
And finally:
Leven - Doot/Dood
Life - Death
The Floskaartjes were also known as Flikjes, Pentertjes, Zesendertigkaartenspel (Game of Thirty-Six Cards), Schipperskaartjes (Skipper's Cards), Oefkes, Trisjes, Krieuwelkaartjes, Bobbelspel and Kleine Klets - and that's just a few examples! They were used as trumps to play card games of some sort, of which the rules seem to have varied from place to place (e.g. in Enkhuizen, card 13 was least in value because of the bad connotations of the number), and they were also used in a kind of role-playing games, for example on the Christian feast of Epiphany.

Spoon
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Thanks so much for taking the time to do that Spoon.

Interesting that everyone is paired off; and interesting that there seems to be a conflict with the Bishop's wife. Familiar eh?

I've often wondered if when names were applied to the Tarot images, (as I believe they were, later), if a "Bishop" wasn't "mistakenly" elevated to the Pope?

I see the crossier on the Noblet, Dodal, and Vieville, and the hats on some of the cards, and it makes me wonder.
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Good sense


I think there's a lot of good sense here.

I hope others will join me in asking Spoonbender to please publish something about this - maybe on the World of Playing Cards site; maybe trionfi.com ---
please?

___________
Quote: The Floskaartjes were also known as Flikjes, Pentertjes, Zesendertigkaartenspel (Game of Thirty-Six Cards), Schipperskaartjes (Skipper's Cards), Oefkes, Trisjes, Krieuwelkaartjes, Bobbelspel and Kleine Klets - and that's just a few examples! They were used as trumps to play card games of some sort, of which the rules seem to have varied from place to place (e.g. in Enkhuizen, card 13 was least in value because of the bad connotations of the number), and they were also used in a kind of role-playing games, for example on the Christian feast of Epiphany.

___________
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Talking Got It!


Now it's time to come back from the hunting and show off the game!

I managed to get a sheet of Floskaartjes printed by Hemeleers-Van Houter at Schaarbeek (circa 1840). It's a folio size(32cm*39cm) and printed on a very cheap and thin paper. It's obvious the cards would be cut out separately and pasted upon a thicker cardstocks. So I carefully took a scanning image of the print and now studying it on the LCD. I don't want to touch it as much as possible.

Of course I'd like to share the image with friends. It's a big jpeg, almost 1.3mb.

http://grimoire.blog.ocn.ne.jp/doll/...oskaartjes.jpg

BTW spoonbender, I have a simple question and would be very glad if you help me. What is the pronunciation of "Floskaartjes"?
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floskaartjes

flos - like flos
kaart - like bard but then a much longer a-sound
jes - like yes but then with u sound, so something like "yus"

the first syllable is the strongest to pronounce, so FLOSkaartjes

if you have a messenger I will be happy to pronounce it for you
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