Petit Oracles de les dames, c. 1807


Kwaw, you call the Petit Oracle des Dames "Etteilla's Petit Oracle". I don't see how the Petit Oracle can be identified with Etteilla
Though not Kwaw, I guess it is usefull to remember (as it has been already mentioned in this thread) that the book "Le petit oracle des dames, ou récréation du curieux" which is available as PDF at Gallica (the digital library from the BnF) is attributed to Alliette (Etteilla)

But it is also possible that I miss something in this thread!

Best regards


Well yes, that's probably why Kwaw calls it "Etteilla". I was reading the booklet on a different site (not the BNF), more user-friendly. Libraries make mistakes; how do they know who did it? One clear example of a mistake by a prestigious instuttion is the deck that the British Museum called "Etteilla" (to which Kwaw gave a link to on the previous thread), at least in a parenthesis, which is clearly a LeNormand and has very little to do with Etteilla.

The attribution of the Petit Oracle to Etteilla seems to me mistaken, because of all the glaring inconsistencies that I have pointed out between Etteilla's own work and this deck. I'm not saying it wasn't done by someone who knew Etteilla's deck, to be sure. perhaps even by one of his leading followers--although one whom he himself at one point disavowed, according to Wicked Pack of Cards.


Another thing that strikes me as similar to the Petit Oracle, besides Etteilla and de Gebelin/de Mellet, is something else, namely, the Minchiate. This has been talked around, but I can't find where it has been spelled out.

If you look at the writing on the cards, you will see that almost every card of the Minchiate is represented, one way or another, in one of the images of the Petit Oracle.

First, we have all the tarot trumps that the Minchiate took over, including both a "Hermit" and a "Traitor" but no Grand Duke, and instead of the Emperor and Empress we have Jupiter and Juno. (The Grand Duke might be the "Law" of "Law and Faith".) For the Tower, we have the Prison image, as in Etteilla. Then in addition, we have Prudence, Hope, Faith, and Charity, all of which are in the Minchiate. Minchiate's four elements are named on four of the cards that have other names. So are the 12 signs of the zodiac. And there is a Fame card (Renommée) as well, in both Minchiate and the Petit Oracle. I believe that covers all of the 41 cards of the Florentine Minchiate.

The obvious link is Poilly's Minchiate Francesa of 42 cards (the same as the Petit Oracle, with a somewhat similar 12 + 20 schema, zodiac plus others vs. single image plus double image, as Huck observed). Here are some of Huck's descriptors of the first 21 cards, along with his posts of cards in the Petit Oracle. I am not claiming an exact match, to be sure, just some resemblance. Some unfortunately are upside down.

02 L'amour (blind flying Eros with arrow and flowers)

C. 1800, most tarot images of Cupid weren’t blindfolded.

03 L'Esperence (woman at small island with big anchor; Hope)

05 La Fortune Woman standing on wheel in the sea; wings at her feet)

This is in addition to the Etteilla image of Fortune, which on the card, too.

07 La Charité (woman with two children)

09 Les Ages, la Vieillesse

10 Age Viril (hero with sword and shield and dragon; "Golden Vlies" in a tree)

Of course here the Lenormand deck is closer.

11 Ages Adolescences (3 young women and a young sitting men reading from a book)

Well, there isn’t any exactly like that in the Petit Oracle, just one person reading a book or a group of young people talking.

12 Ages l'Enfance (three naked children playing "hiding")

15 Element Terre (woman in landscape with fruits and with baton and crown)

20 La Renommée (Angel with trumpet; Fame)

These are just from the first 21 descriptions that Huck gave. They have nothing to do with Etteilla that I can see. I couldn't find Huck's descriptions of the other 9, before the zodiac.


Introduction, Meaning One and Two (up to page 14 of this PDF)

I am refining the first 14 definitions, plus introduction.

I removed them and will post in a linked thread.

These include subsequent corrections.

Thanks and hopefully it will be helpful as one goes through their reproduction kit Petit Oracle Des Dames pink booklet and cards and also accesses the 1809 BNF French text and the posts here.

In the linked thread and above, there's more information about the wonderful crossover of this 1809 oracular fortune telling text is between cartomancy, Grand Etteilla (the seven days of creation), Isis and Osiris as allegories and Compte de Gebelin's allegories of tarot majors being the secret wisdom of the ages.

Hopefully people can see in the 1809 historic cartomancy that mixes Etteilla, dream descriptions and the cartomancy of the piquet pack...later this cartomancy would be expanded and attributed to the popular sybil and fortune telling of the fashionable, whether 1840's Julia Orsini or Madame Le Marchant of the Lismon or other Grand Etteilla cards..even the later more popular Madame LeNormand...but it is great to see the occultists or fortune teller as early as 1809 saw the butterfly of the star card in tarot as a sign of transformation or metamorphis and Osiris, Isis, and their allegory of the neoclassical gods within their cartomancy storytelling.


Also compare withe the anonymous late 18th century deck at the British Museum, which shares many elements from the Oracle des Dames & the Jeu divinatoire revolution 1791, for example:



Re: the 66 card deck, circa. 1790

There is a 66 card deck, Jeu divinatoire révolutionnaire, 1791, at the BnF, several of the cards have similarities to some of the Petit oracles des dames tableaux:

Thanks, I searched this once without success, cause of DDD, p. 144: "The designs are borrowed in part from a 66-card fortune telling deck of about 1790 ... " in context of the Petit Oracle des Dames.

Depaulis gave more information in 1989, "Les Cartes de la Revolution" No. 99 (which I hadn't, as far I remember).

Once I wrote ...

Re: Collection to Etteilla followers
Postby Huck on 18 May 2012, 09:09
Addition to the Hisler-note in the advertisement of Baumgärtner (1794)

Addition to the Hisler-note in the advertisement of Baumgärtner (1794)

I found a reflection on the Baumgärtner productions, though from 1793, so earlier than the notes of 1794. Number 2 refers to the playing cards of Etteilla. Number 5 again starts with "Höhere Kenntniß" and is clearly related to card playing divination. But it's not given as "3te Fortsetzung" or "Fortsetzung" with another number ... and the description is different. So one has to conclude, that there were indeed was one book "Höhere Kenntniß etc." and (probably) indeed it had 3 "Fortsetzungen", as earlier suspected. The text talks of "64 Kupfern", which could mean, that the book referred to a deck with 64 cards, possibly a "double Petit Etteilla deck" (2x32 = 64).
DDD had pointed to an earlier divination deck with 66 cards (c. 1790) in a footnote, which was presented in the catalog of an exhibition by Depaulis in 1989. 66 = 2x33, so actually this might have been also a double 'Petit Etteilla".



Leipziger intelligenz-blatt auf das jahr

So one likely has to search for this "Höhere Kenntniß etc." versions.

In the text of Nr. 2 it's said about Eteilla, that he had told the French king Louis XVI 7 years long about his future sad destiny.


In the German text above (Leipziger Intelligenzblatt) appears a divination deck with 64 cards (bottom of Text, in yellow, starting with "Höhere Kenntnis ... ", which is a known start of Etteilla translations, known by announcements), but in another German text, which I noted in these last days also related to Etteilla I saw a note for a 66-card divination deck (replacing the 64-card deck). I remember, that this was an announcement, but don't find it in the moment. I concluded then, that the true number of cards in this edition was 66, not 64 (probably a misprint).


Your link has only 30 pictures. Do we have the other 36 of totally 66?

All 66 are there, there are 132 pictures, numbered vue 1 to vue 132, because the back of each card is also shown as well as the front, so 66 cards in all.

Here are another two, the BM 36 card 'Eteila' on the left, BnF 66 card 1791 on the right:



All 66 are there, there are 132 pictures, numbered vue 1 to vue 132, because the back of each card is also shown as well as the front, so 66 cards in all.

Yes, I finally found on second look all others and deleted my question.

A strange deck.

The curious map (card No. 66) refers to a region near the Black Sea, which was involved in a war between Osmans and Russia (the Danube river is mentioned and "bizantia") ... Russo–Turkish War of 1787–1792 ...–92)
... Depaulis had dated the deck to c. 1790.

As far I can see it, France hadn't much participation in this conflict. The writing (names and descriptions) are handwritten, likely at least partly not belonging to the original print. It looks like an imported deck type, which became adapted to "French". Possibly from Austria or Austrian countries in direction to the Black Sea, or even "from Russia in love" from the court of Katharina the Great. Katharina had a favour for France, I remember or at least I've read so.
In the upper region we've Greek heroes (57 Hercules conquered Troja, 63 Jason had adventures in the Black Sea, 64 Achill and 65 Ulysses fought at Troja). A 59 Soliman (looks like an Osman) meets at 60 Cesar, a Roman Emperor.
France seems to be expressed by 61 "Le préfat" ("préfet" of Paris ?), which is commented with "ils surpassera nos esperances".

I'm not sure, if Paris had a Préfet in 1790, I saw a note, that Napoleon invented this administrative function (possibly in 1800 ?).
Possibly it was used for the chief of the police in Paris?

Well, that's a problem. The text of the cards knows at least 2 different styles. One form looks "added" (the "préfat" belongs to this part). It might be much later than 1790. We also don't know, if the numbers of the cards were also "added".



You have to zoom in, but at the bottom of card 1, Roi, is also written 'neante' (zero, nothing, nothingness) Roi Neante (royal nothingness?), his fleur-de-lys pattern clothing used specifically to identify him as French? :


And maybe it's just my imagination or accident, but on the seat of 2 Reine, the squiggles suggest the name N. Lisot (there was a counselor to the King who published in 1674 a treatise of observations on the treatment of venereal deseases.

Card 10, Victoire, has A.P.R. (with the approval of the king).