Friday, 13 February 2015

Japaridze Tarot Overview

With vibrant mixed media paintings and slightly oversized cards, the Japaridze Tarot (US Games, 2014) has a strange yet opulent feel to it.  While the cards rarely echo RWS imagery, traditional interpretations are there if you look for them. 

That isn't apparent at first sight on the Temperance card, showing several swings hanging down, two of them with blue women on them.  The companion book highlights their expressions - one blissful, one thoughtful - and the 'balancing' aspect.

As for the Court cards, they are also quite different.  For one thing, the Pages and Knights are renamed Jesters and Strangers.  Looking at the Jester of Winds, we have a child's legs poking out of a rather baroque red costume.  His face is painted like a clown, half hidden under his built-in jester's hat with bells on the ends.  I'm unsure what the object/s in his hands are...  Some kind of weird binoculars?  Curiosity, then, and a desire to see and analyse the world.  Speaking the truth is also there, though that would be an association for any jester!

The Aces are all simple and powerful: geometric shapes with elemental associations.  In the Ace of Fire, a yellow diamond holds billowing flames.  This cards work beautifully to express the seed energy of each suit.

Finally, the Nine of Gardens (Pentacles) is the most traditional of the bunch, showing an elegant lady in her garden.  She wears a fancy hat, and wafts a fan, which was once considered an art form requiring much practice and dedication.  I also love how her dress itself is so opulent: layers of varying fabric, bright with more flowers, strange with shapes and patterns and more.  And not only is there a flamingo on her shoulder, there is also a snake as part of the lower hem of her dress.  A lot to interpret there, should one so choose!

Altogether, it's probably not a plug'n'play kind of deck, but there is plenty to get your teeth into, and the art is amazing.

6 comments:

  1. It is tempting, the art work is so colorful and bold but somehow it doesn't speak to me.

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    1. Hi Ellen, it speaks less to me than I thought it would. Ah well, maybe at a different time...

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  2. I saw that a little book comes with this deck; is it any help in understanding it? I'm going crazy trying to figure out what that jester is holding! :D

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    1. Ah yes, the book, what a novel concept ;) It's lovely, with full page colour images and a description of the media used in the creation process. As for the Jester of Winds, the book says: "Dressed in traditional motley attire and clutching a toy bat, which is played as though an accordion, the Jester of Winds is the most childlike of the four Jesters. Its gender appears ambiguous and its gaze direct and unthreatening. The Jester may be a messenger bringing you ideas for working through challenges disguised as problems." :)

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  3. I saw the Jesters and immediately liked them, but generally, it isn't one I get much from. I appreciate it through the eyes of those who would, if that makes sense. Nice to see something arty and painterly. That, I do enjoy.

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    1. I don't think I'm in the right frame of mind for this deck right now. As you say, though, nice to see some interesting art! :)

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