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Join Date: 08 Feb 2009
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Esoteric or erratic?


Hi everyone, this is a fascinating thread! I adore all Etteilla decks.

Mike H,
You have certainly spent a very long time in research and thought to compose all your detailed posts, a very big thank you from me. It certainly made me pull out all my Etteilla decks and Kaplan's encyclopedia.

This business with the "extra" numbers on cards 13 to 17 is a puzzle though. In Kaplan they only seem to appear on a deck he refers to as a "German Etteilla Tarot, mid-nineteenth centuary" (p.401 and illus p.402), but I have recently obtained an old hand-coloured Etteilla deck with French titles that has these exact double numberings too. It also has the meanings at the bottom of the first 12 cards (except#7) printed upright, just as in Kaplan's German example.

But then, both my copies of what I believe to be Grimaud Grand Etteillas (tax stamped 1890), have that additional 16 on card #15, but no additional numbers on cards 13, 14, 16, or, 17. My 1970's Grimaud Grand Etteilla has no aditional numbers at all.

Are these additional numbers in fact "esoteric" at all, or just an abberation of an erratic printer? Remember that in those days the image, titling and any ruled lines were all separate pieces, hand assembled in a chase and tied with
string! Many typos were made; for example I have heard of some Etteilla decks out there with "Eteilla" spelt with only one T. When subsequent editions were printed the whole card had to be reassembled again, letter by letter for the tiles etc. etc., and different people would have had the job each time, and it is perfectly possible they could have faithfully copied previous printer's errors, OR even created new errors themselves! (see below)

Huck,
Thank you for your links, especially the one to this deck...

WWPCM05365
"Bezu" ? (France)
deck "Grand Etteilla" (78 cards), end of XVIII

Is it really a "Grand Etteilla"? (a title which I thought only refered to Etteilla I decks) I see that #10, Temperance, has an elephant and a woman with a bridle; and #15, the Magician, is facing left; both images being identical to Lismon's Etteilla II deck from the mid to late 19th C. rather than from the "end of XVIII" as you state. Are these possibly the cards mentioned in Kaplan vol.II p.405 with sub-title "Etteilla Prints, late nineteenth centuary", and illustrated on p.406?

For interests sake, I have a copy of this deck myself:-

http://sumada.multiply.com/photos/album/76/Etteilla_II

...unfortunately one card is missing, #26 the 10 of Carreau/Batons, but as there is no tax stamp I have always wondered just how old it might be, other than prior to 1890, the ubiquitous stamp on so many "old" decks.

The cards actually clearly show many other differences from both supposed Etteilla I and subsequent Lismon decks, and it is this fact alone that rivets my attention, let alone what anybody ever wrote about the interpretation or "meaning" of the blessed cards!

As someone stated earlier in this thread, there are "hack" writers, and I now believe there are also "hack" printers. What about my blue-bordered 1890-stamped Lismon Temperance, which has actually been printed with the title "Temperature"!
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