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The Chariot Art and Meaning

Visconti A Tarot Deck Fragment

About the Deck

(aka Cary-Yale Tarot Deck or Visconti di Madrone Tarot Deck) One of the earliest Tarot Decks, the Cary Yale Visconti Deck is entirely gilded, with fine paintings upon it. Like the other Visconti decks, it features numerous heraldic devices. Unlike the other Visconti decks, it features a maid and a lady among the court cards.

Traditionally said to have been commissioned by Fillipo Maria Visconti for the 1441 marriage of Bianca Maria Visconti to Francesco Sforza I.

Provenance

Italy, c. 1441.

According to Many Schools of Thought

A. E. Waite's Secondary Meanings

The Chariot. This is represented in some extant codices as being drawn by two sphinxes, and the device is in consonance with the symbolism, but it must not be supposed that such was its original form; the variation was invented to support a particular historical hypothesis. In the eighteenth century white horses were yoked to the car. As regards its usual name, the lesser stands for the greater; it is really the King in his triumph, typifying, however, the victory which creates kingship as its natural consequence and not the vested royalty of the fourth card. M. Court de Gebelin said that it was Osiris Triumphing, the conquering sun in spring-time having vanquished the obstacles of winter. We know now that Osiris rising from the dead is not represented by such obvious symbolism. Other animals than horses have also been used to draw the currus triumphalis, as, for example, a lion and a leopard.

S. L. MacGregor Mathers's Divinatory Meanings

Upright

Triumph, Victory, Overcoming obstacles

Reversed

Overthrown, Conquered by Obstacles at the last moment.

Papus's Divinatory Meanings

Triumph. Providential Protection