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Published December 08, 2023 Updated December 09, 2023

Æsop’s Fables tarot

French-suited Æsop’s fables tarot produced by Leipzig Industrie Comptoir, c.1800-1825.

1800 Germany Industrie Comptoir Folklore Literature Tarot Tarock Add to Collection

French-suited tarot titled “Feine Tarockartes mit Doppelten Fuiguren Leipzig Industrie Comptoir” on the wrapper, c.1800-1825. The 22 trumps, with large roman numerals at top and bottom of each card, illustrate some of Æsop's well-known fables and other short stories that feature animals with human-like qualities and convey moral lessons. This is a new artistic development from the normal Animal Tarots of the 1750s which aligns with trends in cartomancy and tarot - all new ideas eventually blend and influence each other. Even the court cards are in a new, modern style of costume compared with older models. The only card representative of the old emblematic tarots is the double-ended fool or unnumbered card.

Reference may be made to number II which illustrates the fable of “The Boy who cried Wolf” • V represents “The Rabbits of Fontaine” • VI “The Fox and the Pitcher” • VII “The Fox and the Crow with the Piece of Cheese” • X The Stag and the Stream • XI The Wolf and the Crane • XII The Fowler and the Wolf • XIII The Gourd and the Pine • XIV The Stork and the Frogs • XVI The Men and the Bear • XVIII The Frog and the Well • XXI The Dog and his Shadow • the unnumbered card,, or Fool, is a bust of a harlequin holding cymbals.

Æsop's fables tarot by Leipzig Industrie Comptoir, c.1800-1825. © The Trustees of the British Museum Æsop's fables tarot by Leipzig Industrie Comptoir, c.1800-1825. © The Trustees of the British Museum Æsop's fables tarot by Leipzig Industrie Comptoir, c.1800-1825. © The Trustees of the British Museum Æsop's fables tarot by Leipzig Industrie Comptoir, c.1800-1825. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Above: French-suited Æsop's fables tarot by Leipzig Industrie Comptoir, hand-coloured lithograph, backs printed in dull red with a pattern of stars and dots, circa 1800-1825. Hand-coloured lithograph, 108x58mm. © The Trustees of the British Museum • Museum number 1876,1014.1211-1288


References

Willshire, W. H.: A Descriptive Catalogue of Playing and Other Cards in the British Museum, Trustees of the British Museum, 1876, reprint 1975. (German 273).

Æsop's fables tarot by Leipzig Industrie Comptoir, c.1800-1825. © The Trustees of the British Museum
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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.

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