Animal tarot

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18th century Russian Tiertarock made in Mannheim. Tiertarock Mannheim ca 1778.jpg
18th century Russian Tiertarock made in Mannheim.

Animal tarots (German: Tiertarock) are a subgenre of tarot decks that were most commonly found in northern Europe, from Belgium to Russia. A theme of animals, real and/or fantastic, replaces the traditional trump scenes found in the Italian-suited Tarot of Besançon. The Sküs plays a musical instrument while the Pagat is represented by Hans Wurst, a carnival stock character who carries his sausage, drink, slap stick, or hat. They constitute the first generation of French-suited tarot patterns. Prior to their introduction, tarot card games were confined to Italy, France, and Switzerland. During the 17th century, the game's popularity in these three countries declined and was forgotten in many regions. The rapid expansion of the game into the Holy Roman Empire and Scandinavia after the appearance of animal tarots may not be a coincidence. In the 19th century, most animal tarots were replaced with tarots that have genre scenes, veduta, opera, architecture, or ethnological motifs on the trumps such as the Industrie und Glück of Austria-Hungary.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Tarot Cards used for games or for divination

The tarot is a pack of playing cards, used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play games such as Italian tarocchini, French tarot and Austrian Königrufen. Many of these tarot card games are still played today. In the late 18th century, some Tarot packs began to be used in parallel for divination in the form of tarotology and cartomancy and, later, specialist packs were developed for such occult purposes.

A trump is a playing card which is elevated above its usual rank in trick-taking games. Typically, an entire suit is nominated as a trump suit; these cards then outrank all cards of plain (non-trump) suits. In other contexts, the term trump card can refer to any sort of action, authority, or policy which automatically prevails over all others.



Belgian animal tarot Tarot playing cards.jpg
Belgian animal tarot

After being introduced from Alsace, Besançon pattern tarots were made in Germany as earlier as the 1720s but were likely not popular as German rule books did not mention tarot until after 1750. The earliest animal tarots, utilizing Lyonnais face cards, were made around 1740 in Strasbourg with production also in Germany, Belgium, and Sweden up to the early 19th century. [1] [2] [3] The animal trumps of this early pattern were copied by later makers but often in different orders.

Alsace Place in Grand Est, France

Alsace is a cultural and historical region in eastern France, on the west bank of the upper Rhine next to Germany and Switzerland.

Face card playing card depicting a person; e.g. the king, queen, and jack in the 52-card French deck; knave, knight, queen, and king in the tarot deck

In a deck of playing cards, the term face card (US) or court card (British) is generally used to describe a card that depicts a person as opposed to the pip cards. They are also known as picture cards, or until the early 20th century, coat cards.

Strasbourg Prefecture and commune in Grand Est, France

Strasbourg is the capital and largest city of the Grand Est region of France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located at the border with Germany in the historic region of Alsace, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin department. In 2016, the city proper had 279,284 inhabitants and both the Eurométropole de Strasbourg and the Arrondissement of Strasbourg had 491,409 inhabitants. Strasbourg's metropolitan area had a population of 785,839 in 2015, making it the ninth largest metro area in France and home to 13% of the Grand Est region's inhabitants. The transnational Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau had a population of 915,000 inhabitants in 2014.

The Bavarian animal tarot was designed by Andreas Benedict Göbl of Munich, Bavaria around 1765. He replaced the Lyonnais face cards with the Bavarian version of the Paris pattern. [4] Though widely copied, it died out in the early 19th century. It was also the most widespread animal tarot with one sub-type produced for export to Russia. [5] [6]

Munich Place in Bavaria, Germany

Munich is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria, the second most populous German federal state. With a population of around 1.5 million, it is the third-largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg, as well as the 12th-largest city in the European Union. The city's metropolitan region is home to 6 million people. Straddling the banks of the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps, it is the seat of the Bavarian administrative region of Upper Bavaria, while being the most densely populated municipality in Germany. Munich is the second-largest city in the Bavarian dialect area, after the Austrian capital of Vienna.

Bavaria State in Germany

Bavaria, officially the Free State of Bavaria, is a landlocked federal state of Germany, occupying its southeastern corner. With an area of 70,550.19 square kilometres, Bavaria is the largest German state by land area. Its territory comprises roughly a fifth of the total land area of Germany. With 13 million inhabitants, it is Germany's second-most-populous state after North Rhine-Westphalia. Bavaria's capital and largest city, Munich, is the third-largest city in Germany.

The Belgian animal tarot has the same trumps as the ones above but with unique court cards such as the queens and shin-exposed kings draped in cloaks. Although designed in Germany and also used in Denmark, it acquired its name due to its longevity in Belgium, being made until the late 19th century. [7] It should not be confused with the Italian-suited Belgian tarot which first appeared in Rouen around 1740 and died out at the beginning of the 19th century. [1] [5]

Rouen Prefecture and commune in Normandy, France

Rouen (Rouen in French ; is a city on the River Seine in the north of France. It is the capital of the region of Normandy. Formerly one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe, Rouen was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy during the Middle Ages. It was one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties, which ruled both England and large parts of modern France from the 11th to the 15th centuries.


Adler-Cego Adler-Cego trumps.jpg

Around 1800, newer patterns were introduced using reversible courts and trumps. The Upper Austrian, Tyrolean, Baltic, and Adler-Cego decks all share similar court designs, being double-ended versions of Bavarian Paris pattern. [8] [9] [10] [1] [5] The latter is the only animal tarot pattern still in common use, being played in the Black Forest.

Upper Austria State of Austria

Upper Austria is one of the nine states or Bundesländer of Austria. Its capital is Linz. Upper Austria borders on Germany and the Czech Republic, as well as on the other Austrian states of Lower Austria, Styria, and Salzburg. With an area of 11,982 km2 (4,626 sq mi) and 1.437 million inhabitants, Upper Austria is the fourth-largest Austrian state by land area and the third-largest by population.

Tyrol region across the Alps

Tyrol is a historical region in the Alps; in northern Italy and western Austria. The area was to Habsburg times the former County of Tyrol. The Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1919 divided the area into two parts:

Baltic region geographic region

The terms Baltic region, Baltic Rim countries, and the Baltic Sea countries refer to slightly different combinations of countries in the general area surrounding the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe.

See also

French suited tarots

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  1. 1 2 3 Mann, Sylvia (1990). All Cards on the Table. Leinfelden: Jonas Verlag. pp. 81–83, 109–110, 117, 142, 311–315.
  2. Depaulis, Thierry (2010). "When (and how) did Tarot reach Germany?". The Playing-Card . 39 (2): 77–78.
  3. portrait d'Allemagne at the International Playing-Card Society. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  4. Bavarian animal tarot at the International Playing-Card Society. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  5. 1 2 3 Depaulis, Thierry (1984). Tarot, jeu et magie. Paris: Bibliothèque nationale de France. pp. 80–82, 92–98, 119–120.
  6. Russisches Tiertarock at the World Web Playing Card Museum. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  7. Belgian animal tarot at the International Playing-Card Society. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  8. Upper Austrian animal tarot at the International Playing-Card Society. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  9. Tyrol Hunting tarot at the International Playing-Card Society. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  10. Baltic Tarot at the World Web Playing Card Museum. Retrieved 26 January 2018.