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Suit System:FT
Recommended Name:  the Belgian Animal Tarot.

This pattern was originally classified as FT-1.1.
Although generally known as "Animal Tarot" or "Tiertarock", this pattern is, however, quite distinct from FT-1 and FT-1.2 and others sometimes referred to by these names, so the recommended name is "Belgian Animal Tarot".


This pattern must have evolved very shortly after the emergence of the Bavarian Animal Tarot (FT-1, c.1765-1770) and was made principally in Belgium although examples made by German cardmakers are also known. Although not as widely produced as the Bavarian pack, it survived the latter by a number of years, possibly last being made by Geuens-Seaux of Bruges in c.1880.

As with FT-1, the trumps show pictures of animals and are rarely found constant in order. The designs are taken from the same source as those of the Bavarian pack (possibly taken from an earlier German-suited pack, see exhibition catalogue TAROCKE MIT FRANZÖSISCHEN FARBEN by Detlef Hoffmann and Erika Kroppenstedt, Bielefeld, 1967). Once again, therefore, the identification of this pattern is achieved from a study of the court cards.


78 cards: it seems never to have been known in a shortened, 54-card, form. 4 suits of 4 single-figure court cards and 10 pip cards, plus 21 single-figure trumps, with roman numerals in a panel, top and bottom, centred, and the Fool. Particularly distinctive court cards are the kings, all of whom have legs bare from the knee down except for thonged sandals. In fact most of the court figures have a character quite their own: the jack of Clubs is a striking example (see illustration).

Some known Makers

F.J. Van den Borre, Brussels (c.1780);

P.A. Keusters, Brussels (c.1800);

J. de Porre, Ghent (c.1790);

T. Servaes, Brussels (c.1800);

Daveluy, Bruges (1870);

Geûens-Seaux, Bruges (c.1880);

J.G. Hegewalt (a German maker, early 19th century);

Fr. Aug. Dreissig, Tonndorf bei Erfurt (c.1820).

Belgian Animal Tarot

Illustration 1 of Belgian Animal Tarot (jpg 633 x 791)
Illustration 2 of Belgian Animal Tarot (jpg 633 x 791)
Cards from a pack by Keusters of Brussels.

The International Playing-Card Society March, 1978

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