The Medieval Scapini                                                                                    Review by Michele Jackson

This deck combines both old and new. The cards are similar in style to the 15th Century Visconti-Sforza Tarot deck, though the Minors in this deck do have scenes. This is understandable as the artist who designed this deck is the same one who painted the missing cards for the Visconti-Sforza deck for U.S. Games. All of the Majors have a central figure on a metallic gold background. What makes the Majors interesting is the bottom of each card. Many of the Major Arcana cards have a miniature scene or item of some sort painted at the bottom. Some are so small you need a magnifying glass to see them well. Some are rather whimsical. The Star, for example has a tiny paper boat in the water with the artist’s name on it. The art is excellent. The color is good, with the Majors and Court cards on a gold metallic background, which is supposed to suggest gold leaf. The Minors are on a dark cream colored background. The Majors are standard, with the High Priestess called The Popess, The Hierophant: The Pope and Strength called Force. The Court Cards are King, Queen, Knight and Page, and the suits are Swords, Wands, Cups and Coins. The Minor Arcana have scenes, but they are not just the familiar Waite-Smith scenes rehashed in another style. The people in the scenes are in medieval dress, and Wands clearly depict the peasant class. They try to convey the same interpretation as the Waite-Smith in many cases, but the artist went about it in his own way. Some of the cards do not suggest the Waite interpretations at all. The booklet is one of the better ones from U.S. Games, providing a good description of the scene on the card and what it represents, as well as short divinatory interpretations, both upright and reversed. The scene descriptions are quite useful, as the artist’s use of symbolism is a little off the beaten track, as well as some of his interpretations. You could read with this deck is you invested a little time learning the idiosyncrasies of its interpretation. Overall a very interesting and well done deck, though it may be more of interest to collectors than the average reader.

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Medieval Scapini
ISBN: 0-88079-031-8
Distributed by US Games Systems, 179 Ludlow St., Stamford CT 06902, (800)523-2637, Fax (203)353-8431

This page is Copyright 1997 by Michele Jackson