This black and white deck was done in brush and ink. The imagery is simple, but also evocative. The cards are larger than average at 3 ¼" X 5 ½". They are on uncoated card stock. The power of the imagery is mainly derived from. the black brush strokes on the stark white background; if you want to use this deck for reading, I recommend you buy two and get one laminated for everyday use. At $12.00, including shipping, you may as well.
With one exception, the Major Arcana has traditional names. The Traitor has replaced the Hanged Man. The Majors are not numbered, but the original layout in my deck has Justice in the position for card VIII and Strength in position for XI. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. The court consists of King, Queen, Knight and Page. The art is excellent. The images are haunting and extremely powerful. Some seem to have been painted with wild abandon. Others are more controlled and exact. The artist makes good use of his medium and even though the images are black and white, they are never boring. I rarely talk about which cards I like or dont like in reviews, but I will make an exception this time. This Death card is one of my favorites of all time. The Minors are pips, but the artist has cleverly used the symbols to portray the meaning. The Two of Cups makes the cups look like a couple. The Five of Wands shows the wands at odds, while the Six makes them into a crown. Some of the cards remind me of Thoth, others of Waite. There are some cards that I do not understand and would love to see explained in a booklet of some sort. There are others, like Death, that clicked instantly for me. Each card has its name on the bottom. There are no separate borders.
This deck does not come with a little booklet or explanatory notes of any kind. This is my only complaint. I want to know why there is so much energy in the Empress and Emperor, and why the Nine of Swords has the swords in water. The deck comes with a title card, signed by the artist, and is wrapped in a wonderful parchment paper with an image of the Fool on it. Because the images are black and white, they can be reproduced rather inexpensively, making this deck a steal at $12.00, including shipping. Buy two one to read with and one for your collection. Hell, buy three give one to a friend. Frankly, I see this as more of an art deck than an everyday reading deck, but the imagery is such that those familiar with the cards could read with it as well. I consider this deck one of the gems of my collection. I am not saying that everyone will feel that way. Some may not find it to their taste, but I doubt that anyone looking at this deck can fail to recognize the power of these images, whether they like them or not.
Davids Tarot can be ordered from the artist on his website. You can also see all of the images there.
Images Copyright (c) 1996-98 David Chastain