A reproduction of the 22 trump cards of
The Jean Noblet
Tarot de Marseille
∞ Created in France circa 1650 ∞
With an explanation of the Hebrew letters,
Judaic ritual objects, Torah stories &
Jewish holy days hidden in its images
In 1650 the Holy Office of the Inquisition was still actively pursuing Jewish converts to Catholicism who were suspected of practicing Judaism in secret. The exile of all Jews from France, declared by King Charles in IV in 1394, continued unabated and had forced the remnant of French Jewish life to become entirely covert. Jews were still forbidden from living in England due to the Edict of Expulsion of 1290 declared by King Edwards I. In Italy, by order of Papal decrees, Jews were forced to live in crowded ghettos and required to wear distinctive yellow hats. Horrific pogroms against the Jews of Poland during the Cossack-Polish War of 1648 - 1657 sent an extra shudder of despair throughout the Jewish community of Europe.
At this time a French artist transformed the 22 trumps of traditional Italian Trifoni cards into an entirely different set of images that have proven enduringly captivating and enigmatic. For nearly four centuries many have speculated as to the intentional meaning of the Tarot de Marseille but no theory has provided a fully satisfactory explanation. If one views the Jean Noblet Tarot de Marseille through the lens of the European crypto-Jewish experience the cards will at last reveal their secrets.