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Published December 10, 2023 Updated December 10, 2023

Costumes of Turkey Tarot

‘National Costumes of Turkey’ tarot by Industrie Comptoir, Leipzig, c.1800-1825.

1800 Germany Turkey Industrie Comptoir H. Müller Fashion & Costume Nationalism Tarot Tarock Add to Collection

The superb designs on these tarot trumps and the 16 court cards in the pack are whole-length coloured figures of men and women in the national costumes of Turkey, with large inline roman numerals in the spaces at top and bottom of the trump cards. The (unnumbered) Fool card is a dancing harlequin with cymbals (from Commedia dell’Arte). The numeral cards are French-suited with no illustrations, just plain pips. Each costume card has a description printed down the sides.

The cards are contained in their original box with the title "Extra Feine Tarok-Karte mit Türkischen Nationaltrachten. Leipzig im Industrie Comptoir". In his PhD thesis Ömer Parlak, (2019, p.10) notes that “the image of the Turk has never been a static one: on the contrary, it has evolved and gained different meanings throughout its history in Europe”.

‘Costumes of Turkey’ tarot by Industrie Comptoir, Leipzig, c.1800. © The Trustees of the British Museum

The Court Cards

Lettered at the feet of the knave of clubs (bottom left) is the name of the engraver Heinrich Müller: "H. Müller fec."

‘Costumes of Turkey’ tarot by Industrie Comptoir, Leipzig, c.1800. © The Trustees of the British Museum ‘Costumes of Turkey’ tarot by Industrie Comptoir, Leipzig, c.1800. © The Trustees of the British Museum ‘Costumes of Turkey’ tarot by Industrie Comptoir, Leipzig, c.1800. © The Trustees of the British Museum ‘Costumes of Turkey’ tarot by Industrie Comptoir, Leipzig, c.1800. © The Trustees of the British Museum
‘Costumes of Turkey’ tarot by Industrie Comptoir, Leipzig, c.1800. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Above: cards from ‘Costumes of Turkey’ tarot by Industrie Comptoir, Leipzig, c.1800-25. 78 cards; hand-coloured etching; backs printed in blue with a pattern of joined hexagons, each with a dot in the centre. © The Trustees of the British Museum • Museum number 1876,1014.1134-1210

References

Parlak, Ömer Fatih, 2018. The image of the Turk in early modern board games and playing cards, doctoral thesis, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 2019.

Willshire, W. H.: A Descriptive Catalogue of Playing and Other Cards in the British Museum, (German 272), Trustees of the British Museum, 1876, reprint 1975.

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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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