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Suit System:IT
Recommended Name:  the Tarot de Marseille.

This pattern was originally classified as IT-1.
Popularly known as the "Tarot de Marseille" which is the recommended name. It is a relatively late term, probably due to the large output of the cards by makers of that city although the cards were made elsewhere in France and Switzerland including the cities or towns of Paris, Belfort, Avignon, Fribourg and Neuchâtel.


The standard order of Tarot trumps in France was established by or in 1557, the date of an otherwise non-standard pack made by Geoffroy of Lyons, but there is scant evidence of what form the designs of Tarot cards took between that time and the standardisation of so many patterns as the result of legislation in 1701. It seems, however, from the few surviving cards, that the Tarot de Marseille was the form generally adopted, and it is certainly the one purely French Latin-suited Tarot pattern to survive in France today. Other patterns in the group all depend for most of their features on this one set of designs, rather than on one another. In order to differentiate between the parent pattern and its offshoots, eight cards have been taken for purposes of identification. Some designs are found in most packs, others in only one. Several are illustrated below.


78 cards. 4 suits of 4 single-figure court and 10 pip cards, plus 21 single-figure numbered trumps and the Fool which, together with the court cards are captioned in French. Distinguishing cards: Trump II = Popess; V = Pope; XV, the Devil wears a loin cloth and has a bare chest; XVIII, the face in the Moon is in profile; XX, the Angel's trumpet bears flag, spiky rays emanate from the cloud; the Fool is called "Le Mat"; the jack of Batons stands with one band on top of baton, one lower down. The ace of Cups resembles a straight-sided font.

Some known Makers

Jean Payen, Avignon (1743);

François Tourcaty (1734-53), Nicolas Conver (1760), François Bourlion (1760), Feautrier (1762), Bernardin Suzanne (1839), all of Marseilles;

Jean Noblet (1721-60), B.P. Grimaud (19th and 20th centuries), both of Paris;

J.P. Laurent, Belfort (18th century);

Claude Burdel, Fribourg (1751);

J.H. Rochias, Neuchâtel (1816);

P. Cheminade, Seravalle, Piedmont (1742).

Accepted Variants

a) Trump XV, the Devil wears furry trousers; the ace of Cups is a large covered cup (as for IT-1.4); made by Walter and Gränicher, Hasle, and J. Müller, Schaffhausen (19th and 20th centuries).

b) Trump XV, the Devil appears to have loincloth and furry legs and torso; Trump XVIII, the Moon bears a full face; the Fool is called "Le Fol"; made by Schaer, and Jagi, both of Mumlisweil (l8th century).

Some References

CARTES A JOUER - Catalogue de la donation Paul Marteau, Bib. Nat., Paris, 1966.

THE PLAYING CARD by Detlef Hoffmann, Leipzig, 1973.

LES CARTES A JOUER DU XIVe AU XXe SIEGLE by Henry-René d'Allemagne, Paris, 1906.

Tarot de Marseille

Illustration 1 of Tarot de Marseille (jpg 735 x 949)
Illustration 2 of Tarot de Marseille (jpg 759 x 942)
Suit cards and trumps made from blocks dated 1760.

The International Playing-Card Society Undated

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