Interference between Fortune and World


I have recently been thinking about a possible interference / interchange between the World card and images of Fortune.

Ancient World cards have a clear image of the world, as a circle or a sphere. I think this could make the cards hard to recognize at first sight for the players, since both the Wheel and the World had a big circle has their main feature. In the end, some engraver decided to replace the circle of the World with an oval, putting the main figure inside the oval, so the visual ambiguity was solved.

The ambiguity in ancient cards possibly was the reason for some mistake or reinterpretation by the engravers, who added elements of Fortune to the World. We have an excellent example of such a creative interpolation (but form World to Fortune) in the Waite-Smith Wheel, where the Tetramorph (the symbols of the four Evangelists), tipical of TdM World, was added :)

One more reason for the interpolation is that the human figure on the World card is often difficult to identify. So someone thought to identify it with fortune.
There are two very clear examples of Fortune in World cards. One is Bodet .

The other is the Parisian Tarot, a 1600 ca deck, which might be the earliest deck all whose 78 cards have survived (with the exception of the non-standard XV century Sola-Busca deck).
On Andy's playing cards there is a page where the relevance of Fortune for the Parisian World is stated and visually documented.

While browsing a book about the Venetian painter Francesco Guardi (XVIII Century) I noticed that on the building of the Dogana (in front of S. Marco) there is a huge statue of the World/Fortune (see attachment). The statue seems to be by a certain Benori (1677).

Fortune was represented standing on a globe and holding a sail to signify that she is unstable and often changes her direction.



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le pendu

Hi Marco,

I've thought the same thing as well. To me the Paris and Bodet are pretty obviously Fortune, and even the "scarfed" figure in many TdM decks looks quite a bit like Fortune to me.

Also interesting is that Fortune appears on some of the early decks along with the Wheel, but as she disappeared from the Fortune card, maybe she started to reappear on the World?

One of my favorite pages: