A Spanish Paper Chase.


After reading several threads about 'to have Tarot one needs the medium of paper'- I got out my history books. Here is a little ramble about what I learned and where it lead me.
In 751 AD Islamic Warriors captured a caravan including three Chinese papermakers. The Art of papermaking spread with the Islamic/Muslim world across the top of Africa and thence into Spain and what is now Portugal. By 1000 AD Spain had plenty of paper and pasteboard evidenced mainly in the City of Cordova.(From Burke 1973.. Paper unknown supposedly in the west was everywhere in Cordova) The city library had over 600,000 manuscripts it is believed. Paper was been made out of rags ,cotton and linen pulp. In fact later, it was thought that the plague went to England via the old rags etc for papermaking.The Library was burnt in 1013 AD; The Christian movement to oust Muslims from the Iberian Peninsular. Cordova at the time was a city of remarkable achievments in Architecture and civilised society.
IN Andy's Playing card site there is a deck of playing cards called Italy II, some cards of Moorish origin from Spain circa 1400 sometimes called the Saracen cards. They are made of pasteboard, with woodcut designs; hand painted or finger smeared in the Moorish fashion. So I wondered what else was happening around that time?
There was this Portuguese Duke called Prince Henry the Navigator/ The Seafarer who in 1420 AD became the Govenor of 'The Order of Christ' which was the sucessor to the Knights Templar. Before that he got a group a skilled Artisans/mapmakers/printers and the like together to form a think tank which we know as the 'Voyages of Discovery'. One of those discovery trips found Maderia. In the library-Museum called Mario Barbeito de Vasconcelos in Funchal, Maderia they have listed some pasteboard miniatures 14th Century....I sure would like to see those along with their same circa miniatures of Faith Hope and Charity. If they are sailors playing cards- like those that went to Japan 150 years later that would be a find would it not? ~Rosanne


Anyone here from Madeira? :D :D :D or taking their Summer Hols there? Wants to go on a Card treasue hunt at the Musuem? hehehe I will be there with you in spirit lol ~Rosanne


By the way...interactions with China in 1421...

...while it's not likely that the Chinese really discovered the new world


...the interactions between Europe and China is likely a little more vibrant than sometimes realized and perhaps a bit earlier.

In Spring of 1288, emissary Rabban Suma of China celebrated Easter with Pope Nicholas IV in Rome after a trek of 13 years, with princely gifts and diplomatic letters. Rabban Sauma was a Nestorian Christian monk and official envoy from the Great Khan Khubilai...and among the requests was to send proselytizing monks. The Franciscan order's mission to spread the word of God coincided with the new Pope's ideals...Pope Nicholas is said to have within two months send treasures to his mother church at Assisi and by summer of 1289, Fra Giovanni da Montecorvino went to China...and the first church in Beijing was built in 1299.

So far though, the book discusses cloths and traders, illuminated minatures, various paintings, ceramic vases, patterns and woodcut decorations that you might see in Asian paintings and Chinese/Mongolian art that was reflected in Francescan churches or art...including Giotto's use of scrolls in his paintings which might have used the pattern of Chinese scrolls as examples...

The art of maps and travel tales that grew out of fascination with the Francescan missions became a secular byproduct among royalty as well...the book discusses Francescans by 1350 having influenced literary genres and being skilled mapmakers. Fra Paolino Minorita of Avignon is said to have created the first circular map of the world in 1321 and commercial mapmaker Petus Vesconte of Genoa in 1321 made a circular map of Asia...

Not much more than snippets to add to fascinating summaries.

Nonetheless, perhaps the impulse was hopeful it adds to your discussion.



Fascinating precursors of card history--no cards, but the arts and thirsting quest for travel that led to popularity and influence of books, spread of cards, minatures, and the noble names

Princely Gifts and Papal Treasures
Franciscan Mission to China and It's Influence on the Art of the West


Thanks cerulean, your impulse does help me. The spread of Christianity built great relationships and destroyed as many. The Black death hit Europe around 1350 AD and a lot more than a few skills were lost as well, as well as the ignorant burning of accumulated knowledge by fanatics. I think it is at the outposts of power some artifacts remain- like the woodblock cards of Japan. I love a treasure hunt anyway ;) In tiny Pacific Island museums, much of Captain Cooks voyages have been found; ~Rosanne


Wow! Fulgour- Burke is a man after my own heart! Thank you for those sites- I will spend some hours there. Yes the dry facts never seem to tell the story do they? We are all interconnected like the Lovers Card tells us, along with all sorts of unusual details. I like expanded thinking- not contracted lines of exploration- the story of Napoleon and computers is a great illustration. I am not skilled with the machine that was the outcome of Lacework patterns :D but with help of free minds I will plod on. ~Rosanne


PLAYING CARDS, MADIERA museum....picture!

1. Playing card press Madiera museum

http://www.zadorspain.org/images/Actividades/Actividades culturales/Actividades-culturales-14.gif


2. Fournir Museum's collection of cards, also....will be checking around.

3. Miro, 1920 print with Spanish cards...


4. Roseanne also have that post regarding the old Portugese pattern in the old world:


5. And my older thread...Spanish playing cards with the Cadiz pattern...to bring the pattern interaction link also to the New World...


...by the time the Spanish-Portugese patterns of cards also came to reflect discoveries of the "New World" in Victorian times, there still were Latin suits that look Tarot-like...the illustration in the antiques book look similar to the scans in the post...

Don't know if this is related--guess it is in my silly corner of the world. Thanks Roseanne and others for such fascinating resonations!




Cerulean, you are AT's own Burke. I don't know how I miss these threads- I tend to run to books instead of searching here! I will have to change my work habits ;) Thanks your litle world there interests me here. ~Rosanne