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Published September 23, 2023 Updated September 25, 2023

Le Nuove Minchiate di Firenze

Costante Costantini's second Minchiate deck, “Le Nuove Minchiate di Firenze”, was published by Solleone in 1981.

1981 Italy Solleone Costante Costantini Cartomancy Minchiate Add to Collection

Costante Costantini's second Minchiate deck, “Le Nuove Minchiate di Firenze”, was published by Edizioni del Solleone in an edition of 1500 in 1981. The Minchiate pack is an enlarged form of the tarot pack in which the number of allegorical cards, or ‘trumps’ is extended from 22 to 41, thereby including the four elements, 12 zodiac signs and more virtues. The symbolism and allegory seen in the pack opens the door to artistic interpretation, depending on the reader's perspective. Minchiate was invented in Florence during the Renaissance, when such allegory and symbolism was common in art and culture.

The 41 Trumps

The Court Cards

The lowest court cards are maids in the ‘round’ suits of cups and coins, and are jacks in the ‘long’ suits of swords and batons. The four cavaliers, or knights, are strange mythological beasts with human heads.

“Le Nuove Minchiate di Firenze” created by Costante Costantini, published by Solleone in 1981 “Le Nuove Minchiate di Firenze” created by Costante Costantini, published by Solleone in 1981 “Le Nuove Minchiate di Firenze” created by Costante Costantini, published by Solleone in 1981 “Le Nuove Minchiate di Firenze” created by Costante Costantini, published by Solleone in 1981

Above: “Le Nuove Minchiate di Firenze” created by Costante Costantini, published by Solleone in 1981, presented in a large hard plastic box, complete with 97 cards, dice, counters, play mat, booklet and postcard. Cards measure 90x60mm.

See the rules booklet • See the play mat

The rule booklet is titled “Regole per il gioco d'azzardo e par divinare” (Rules for games of chance and divination) and the play mat which accompanies the set is titled “Gioco d'Azzardo e Divinatorio del Tarocchi Fiorentini” in line with the popular trend for Tarot and Minchiate to be seen as mystical tools used for divination and fortune-telling. However, Michael Dummett (1980, p.165-166) was of the opinion that “it has seldom been suggested that the resulting sequence of forty triumph subjects has any special symbolic significance: it is obvious that those who devised the Minchiate pack simply looked around for a convenient method of adding new and memorable subjects to the existing ones. If this was true in the sixteenth century for the inventors of the Minchiate pack, there is little reason to suppose that it was not also true a hundred years earlier for the inventors of the Tarot pack itself. At any rate, if there was any special symbolism underlying the sequence of Tarot triumphs, as originally devised, this played no role in the games played with the cards, and hence disappeared from the consciousness of card players.”

Why are the four Cavalli mythological beasts with human heads?

Possibly the reason for this is rooted in the symbolic and allegorical nature of the Minchiate pack. The mythological or allegorical elements in the pack would have enhanced the narrative and symbolism within the game. The knights with human heads could be seen as representing a fusion between human intelligence and mythological and spiritual atttributes, linking the worldly and divine realms. Such symbolism was not uncommon in Renaissance art and culture, where classical mythology, astrology and allegory played significant roles.


References

Dummett, Michael: The Game of Tarot: From Ferrara to Salt Lake City, Duckworth, 1980

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By Adam West-Watson

Member since September 01, 2014

I have been fascinated by playing cards ever since I can remember, and still have several of the card games I had as a child. And although I had accumulated quite a number of packs of various sorts over the years, it wasn't until I was in my 50s that I began collecting in earnest. My tastes are quite varied, and my collection of 800 or so decks includes:- children's games, standard and non-standard playing cards, adult games, fortune telling and oracle cards, tarot cards, and even cigarette cards.


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