Another fine Kickstarter campaign from Lo Scarabeo. (I heard that there were some inconsistencies in the quality of the decks received, but I’m completely happy with mine.) I contributed to all three volumes of the Lo Scarabeo Tarot Compendium books, and I couldn’t pass this one up. After months of waiting, it arrived!
The box is beautiful with embossed lettering and an illuminated “M.” The red microfiber cloth is a nice little addition, as is the reproduction coin, which has significant weight to it. It would be nice if the red sealing wax was perfumed, but I understand that some people have adverse reactions to certain scents. The crowned snake seal that goes with it is simple and elegant. I don’t know if I’ll ever use it, but it was a nice stretch goal. I like that the designers used artwork from the cards for both the coin and the seal.
The hardcover book provides a detailed description of the restoration process as well as justification for creating a deck of 89 cards, 11 more than today’s standard deck of 78. In addition to the interpretation of each of the cards, there is a separate section on the iconography of the Triumphs, a brief and historic description of the game, and advice on readings using ancient decks.
Each suite has six court cards instead of the usual four. In addition to the King, Queen, Knight, and Knave, we have the Equestrienne, the female counterpart to the Knight, and the Lady, the female counterpart to the Knave. Cards representing the Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity were also included in the deck as additions to the Major Arcana.
The cards themselves, with their gold and silver leaf, literally glow. The pip cards do not have the pictorial images we are accustomed to today, but are striking in their simple artwork.
The over-sized dimensions of the cards are awkward in my little hands, so I don’t think this deck will get much normal use. In addition to it being a keepsake, I can foresee it becoming a valuable tool in my understanding of the history of the Tarot.