Tarock and Tarok are traditional card games, distinct from tarot cards used in divination. Originating in the 15th century, these games involve strategic, trick-taking gameplay and have various regional versions across Europe. Unlike modern tarot decks for cartomancy, Tarock and Tarok decks are designed for gaming, featuring a special set of trumps with outdoor scenes and Roman numerals. Trump I often depicts a musician. Our collection of articles explores their card designs and the different regional variations.
Cards from a 54-card "Austrian Tarock" or "Industrie und Glück Tarock" pack made by Franz Adametz of Vienna, c.1948. This type of pack originated around the middle of the 19th century and was used (and still is) in Austria and Hungary.
Woodblock and stencil Animal Tarot cards, probably of Swiss origin, 2nd half 18th century.
French-suited Animal Tarot deck produced by Andreas Benedict Göbl, Munich.
French-suited Bavarian Animal Tarot by J B Dubois, Liège, Belgium, late 18th C.
Early 19th century Animal Tarot pack produced by J T Dubois, Liège, Belgium.
French-suited ‘Bavarian Animal Tarot’ by Johann Matheus Backofen, Nürnberg, late 18th C.
French-suited Natural History Tarot deck by Joseph Fetscher, Munich, c.1820.
French-suited Æsop’s fables tarot produced by Leipzig Industrie Comptoir, c.1800-1825.
The designs of these fortune-telling cards are largely taken from nineteenth century Austrian "Rural Scenes" Tarock cards.
‘National Costumes of Turkey’ tarot by Industrie Comptoir, Leipzig, c.1800-1825.
The traditional animal images on tarok decks are here substituted by images of buildings from Copenhagen and the surrounding area. The deck had several editions, with each new edition updating the latest changes to the buildings that had taken place since the previous edition.
Danish Tarok cards published by S. Salomon & Co., Kjøbenhavn, c.1906.
Dondorf's “Microscopique Tarock“ was first published in c.1870. The scenes portrayed at each end of the trump cards are marvels of miniature graphic artwork and printing.
The four suits are associated with four countries: Clubs = Germany, Diamonds = UK, Spades = Russia and Hearts = France.