TarotBot Flornoy series
In loving memory of Jean-Claude Flornoy, thank you for bringing new life to the Tarot.
The Marseille tarot
It is generally known that the denomination "Marseille tarot" became mainstream in the 1930’s when Paul Marteau, in response to the increasingly popularity of Golden Dawn-based decks, decided to re-launch the French tarot by reprinting an old version of the Nicolas Conver deck, calling it the 'Veritable tarot de Marseille'. Marteau may have gotten the idea from the fact that three hundred years before, the city of Marseilles was the main port through which French tarot decks were exported to the rest of the world. It seemed appropriate, then, to baptize the French tradition as being 'from 'Marseille'. Or perhaps Marteau borrowed the term from Papus, who wrote in his book, 'le Tarot des bohémiens': "We hope that for this purpose you have procured the Tarot of Marseilles, the most correct in its symbolism". This was, indeed, the earliest known use of the term. That is how several decks sharing similar distinctive features but produced in various localities (the Jean Noblet tarot, for example, was printed in Paris in 1650, while the Jean Dodal was printed in Lyon in 1701) ended up consigned to the same label.
Think of the Marseille tradition as the champagne of tarots: a denomination that transcends its geographical origin to define a very unique kind of experience.
The Marseille is the most poetic of all tarots. Each card contains a hint from another card, in an endless game of visual resonances. Linked to la langue des oiseaux (the Language of The Birds), French folklore suggests that the Marseille tarot speaks directly to the eye in the subtle voice of its characters' gestures. The Marseille tarot borrows its language from the Romanesque cathedrals of France, from the chanting arms of medieval heraldry, and from the French people's love of puns and wordplay. The Marseille tarot hides its secrets in the obvious.
Tarotbot gives you the opportunity to experience the Marseille tarot, either through Jean Noblet's elegant design or through the rough shapes of Jean Dodal. Both have been restored, from the only original surviving decks kept in the British Museum and the Biblioteque Nationale of France, by master card-maker Jean-Claude Flornoy.