08/04/2012 at 11:50 AM
- Italy, c. 1450s (67 of 86 originals, 19 replacements)
- US Games
- 7.5 x 3.9 inches
- Suggested Retail
The first thing that struck me upon opening this box was the sheer size of the cards. The box is no deception; that's really the size of the cards. At first I was impressed, but then I started thinking about shuffling and laying out the cards for a reading, and I have to say I'm a little dubious that they would of very much utility for everyday use. As a collector's piece it is exquisite. The images are extremely high resolution, as crisp as the high-res scans from the museum (also available on this website). The backs are entirely plain; clearly the focus is on the fronts of the cards. In the original deck there were 86 cards, and of those only 67 are remaining. US Games has recreated the other 19 cards in order to make a functional deck. These have not been executed with the same level of skill that was possessed by the master who originally painted the deck, but they are nonetheless beautiful in their own right. I was disappointed only that they were not a good match for the style of the original artist; each card itself is beautiful in its own way. The documentation that comes with the set is extensive for such a small booklet; each card is pictured, described, and assigned a divinatory meaning. I could not have designed more assiduous documentation myself, and I'm pretty persnickety about that kind of thing.