The Minchiate tarot deck offers a rich and fascinating imagery.
Despite the fact that Minchiate (pronounced: meen-kee-ah-tey) in Italian means “bullshit”, this antique tarot deck is absolutely fascinating.
This is a very old tarot deck and it didn’t survive intact to our days maybe because it was issued only in popular editions and it was not carefully preserved like other precious, hand painted decks.
The Minchiate tarot deck was used in Tuscany during the Renaissance and they can be traced back to a 16th century deck, now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
Lo Scarabeo issued a beautiful reproduction of the original deck created in Florence during the 18th century.
The cards are smallish but of good quality and easy to shuffle.
This deck is inspired by the originals in the Biblioteque Nationale de Paris, the British Museum in London, the Museo Fournier in Vitoria - Spain and Museo Civico di Pavia - Italy.
The Minchiate tarot deck is very unusual, it combines zodiac signs with the theological virtues, pagan myths and the elements, with the result of an extremely complex deck, compelling for its rich imagery.
The artwork of this deck is beautiful and intriguing.
The numbered cards are often decorated with animals and symbols, sometimes very hard to interpret.
When you think you are getting to terms with this symbology, you get the surprise of a centaur or an elephant to destroy all your certitudes.
The deck is made of 97 cards: 41 are the Major Arcana, including the 21 traditional Trumps, 12 zodiac signs, and 4 Theological Virtues, 4 Elements plus 56 regular pip cards divided in the suits of cups, wands, swords and coins.
The Knights are represented by centaurs and the Pages of Cups and Pentacles are female characters.
I am crazy about antique tarot decks and I had to have this one in my collection.
But frankly I am pretty clueless about how to interpret these unusual tarot cards although I really enjoy their images and maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to get some serious insight about their meaning.
In the booklet that accompanies the Minchiate Etruria by Lo Scarbeo is included a brief guide to the card meaning with a positive and a more negative interpretation of each card.
A quite clever explanation with examples about how to read this deck is provided too in an intent to tame the multitude of symbols and characters.
The instructions are given in English, Italian, Spanish, French and German for a truly international reach.
This tarot deck would be perfect for an astrology fan because it includes all the astrological signs in the cards but I would not recommend it for a beginner tarot reader for its excessively intricate symbology.