hist-games: IPCS Convention

Mckay, Michael michael.mckay at compaq.com
Wed Dec 2 13:33:04 PST 1998


How many of the people on either of these lists (cross-posted to both
playing-cards and hist-games) attended the IPCS convention?  This was my
first time attending one, and I'd like to see other people's opinions.  I
enjoyed seeing the playing card museum in Issy-Les-Molinuex (sp?).  My
primary interest is in early European card history, and there were a number
of talks that I found quite interesting.  During the more modern talks, I
hung out with the "card playing" subgroup (largely instigated by John McLeod
of course).  I learned 3 new card games: Alluette, Hungarian Tarock, and
French Tarock.  All in all, I had a good time, and meet a number of
interesting people.

I was very interested in Ronald Decker's attempts to figure out the
symbolism of the tarot cards, using an "art history" approach.  Since Ron is
not yet on the internet, we probably don't have easy access to an electronic
version of presentation.  Here is a short summary of his theory.  He
believes the unknown 15th century Italian inventors of the tarocchi were
influenced by classical literature and symbols.  The reasons behind their
design were lost (probably within the first generation), but by examining
books known to Italians of that time period, we might be able to recreate
them.  Ron was looking for a "single source" (as opposed to taking bits and
pieces of many books).  Perhaps somewhat weakening the single-source part,
he thinks there were actually three schemes rolled into one ("soul journey",
"7 virtues and 7 sins", and I've forgotten the third).  He has now found two
of the "single source" books, each of which accounts for one of the three
organizational schemes.  If people think this is a worthwhile topic, I'll
dig into my notes and present a more complete version of his theory.

Michael McKay  (known in the SCA as Seaan McAy)

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