Medieval's an idea


The link below is to a book at with medieval birds appearing in a British missel (I think it's a prayer book) and their meanings, circa the 1500s:

I'm taking a scientific illustration short course in drawing and painting birds and I was also searching for a different Medieval to Renaissance tarot idea. I know a 'bestiary" book is out...and there's gorgeous French tapestry designs that the Italians (especially the young D'Estes) recognized as beautiful.

As a collection point in medieval to Renaissance art, perhaps this has been done before...Kat Black's Golden Tarot has some animals and human archetypes...maybe this should be more aligned to Bayeux Tapestry or William Morris period designs.
Along those lines, has anyone done a tarot with a card that depicts maiden and a unicorn done medieval or Renaissance style?

Still experimenting...

Mari H.


The Bayeux tapestry has a number of creatures shown, but you're probably thinking of a more European style of art.

My sister had done up a horse manual in the Medieval way (she's with the SCA) and looked through all sorts of codexes and historical paintings online to get the look she wanted. A LOT of university sites have pages of manuscripts put up online. There's some beautiful work out there. It took about 3 hours to find the specific Spanish codex from the 1100's she was looking for. I ran across all sorts of resources. I think you could get quite a deck out of it.

For instance, there's a whole hunting book done up with prey animals & many breeds of dogs

Fabulous animals--cool!

THIS is a resource! Check under art & manuscripts--bookmark this page, it's one of the best online

But the best resource I've seen is the Aberdeen Bestiary

you have to click through each page, there was another site (can't find it) that showed multiple pages all on one screen & had thumbnails to click on for larger images. A search under the title would probalby get you more.

As for research--the Labyrinth wins hands down:[All%20Categories]

full deck

Jeez, those are some wonderful links

I looked at the links and there is some really lovely material there. Thanks for posting it guys!

P.S. It is amazing how some of these illustrated documents will have a big, ugly "Bibliothèque" stamp on it. I thought only the Americans and British would be that legalistic but no, there are idiots in France too.


At first I thought Allibee was talking about doing a Mamluck duck, which I was going to look up. Then I realized what she was saying, so I know it was time for me to stop looking tonight. I got to sketch a peregrine from life, so birds are buzzing around my head.
Actually, my bent is representational. I was looking for something in between the handpainted Hofamterspiel/so called Mantegna human archetypes and yet Italianesque illuminations. More like the 15th century Du Berry or Romance of the Rose manuscripts. The hunting/sport illustrations are superb and exactly what I am looking for, as well. I especially liked one of the links trying to describe a unicorn, by Marco Polo.
This will be very fun.
Mari H>


You will post some to let us know how you are getting on, I hope.



Suits and back ideas

Hi all,

I'm going to include tapestry/birdlike figures in pips and backs only. I've been chatting all about the Di Gumppenberg 1830-1840 because I think it's the ideal transitional design---a cross between stencilled and fine engraving. Also the divinatory book is rather fun to look through. I discuss links and details more in the Di Gumppenberg thread.

The coloring in both the Bologna 1780 and Di Gumppenberg 1830-40 are limited to greens, golds, browns, blues and black. The Di Vecci Italian book describes divinatory meaning---which I believe was made up for this deck and drawn from Italian fortune-telling ideas of the 18th century.

Another plus is the facial expressions are not colored in with dark staining, but somewhat more delicately modelled---so one can think they were looking at sketchbook drawings of church art.

Originally I thought the Pagan tarot's design might yield historical fun and modern ideas, but it is really not the path I would like to follow. If you want to see where I am going, check the sketchy Temperance painting on started with the Di Gumppenberg 1845 and Sierraville 1880's and local mission architecture. While the watercolor sketch was only a start, I'm happier to evolve allegorical figures from two not too ancient and actual Italian historical patterns. I'll redo Temperance a little because the Bologna and Di Gumppenberg 1830-40 is slightly different--but my coloring choices reflected that style from the first. & ).

I look forward to Allibee's ancient Mamluck deck...


the hard part is coming up with animals and animal
situations that authentically symbolize the tarots

As a precursur, the obvious;
air is birds,
fire predator species such as cats and dogs
water mermaids, dolphins, fish,
earth, serpents, deer, hooved creatures, elephants, etc.

unicorns might be very well suited to the One of Disks.

Or, alternately, the maiden unicorn theme to
the daughter of Disks.