Review: The Orient Tarot by Alexander Daniloff
Sometimes you only need to see an artist’s name in your DMs and you know that something wondrous is afoot. So it was with Alexander Daniloff’s latest deck, the Orient Tarot. I only needed to see the first image to know that my greedy little Tarot heart needed and wanted its precious … *sounds and looks like Gollum*
The Orient Tarot is a privately printed, limited edition (500) deck of 80 cards. As with other decks Alexander has created, we are given the choice of whether we wish to have Justice or Strength as Arcana VIII and XI.
Inspired by the ancient culture of the East with a magical Scheherazade-1001 nights feeling, this deck sparkles with jewel-box colours and, being RWS inspired, reads like a dream, straight out of the box.
There is a lot of detail in the cards, some of which will only yield itself up as you become more familiar with them. For example, check out the jewels that decorate the front of the turbans of the Emperor and Hierophant – they are the astrological symbols for Aries and Taurus. Although, I have to say, I can’t find the astrological glyphs in every card that has an astrological association. BUT that doesn’t mean that they aren’t there to be discovered, squirrelled away in the detail of a costume or the curl of a ribbon! There are gems dotted everywhere. I’ll keep looking – and you should too 🙂
While the Majors are numbered and named as you would expect, the number and naming of suits of the Minors (with arabic numbering, of course!) are depicted with symbols – a curved blade for Swords, a stylised cup for Cups, a cudgel shape for Wands and a stylised coin shape for Coins. The beauty of this is that you can call the suits whatever you like – Vessels, Cups, Chalices …. Swords, Scimitars, Blades … Coins, Denari, Pentacles, Disks …. Wands, Batons, Sticks.
Since this is a blog about court cards though, I’ll be looking more closely at the Courts in this review. Each court is depicted with a letter to indicate its rank – P for Page, a small k for Knights, Q for Queen and capital K for Kings.
Where each Court has an association with Astrology, there is a symbol to indicate that link included in each image. Each Page stands in a background indicating the element associated with the suit and the Knights have the symbols on their shields, Queens on their tent flaps and Kings in the embroidery that hangs behind them. And just in case you need additional help, the astrological glyphs are included in the foot of the card.
Here you can see the Page in the element of Earth, with the Knight on a camel and sporting the symbols of Virgo. The Queen has the symbol of Capricorn and Earth and the King has Taurean bull imagery. I think there is a predominance of orange tones in these cards.
The Page stands in the element of Water, the Knight sports Pisces imagery, the Queen Cancer and the King Scorpio. A predominance of blue tones, or am I imagining that?
The Page stands surrounded by clouds and the element of Air. The Knight has Gemini, the Queen Libra and the King has the Aquarius water bearer and a pillow of clouds and swifts. Definitely a dark purple vibe going on with these guys.
Our final set of courtly characters from the Orient Tarot are the fiery Wands – the Page stands before a volcano, the Knight has Sagittarius icons, the Queen Aries and the King Leo. I am seeing an Alazarin Crimson vibe in these?
I love the courts – the fleet-footed mounts for the Knights (hooray for the camel, although I would like to have seen an elephant included – but that’s just because I love an elephant and frankly, there aren’t enough of them in art!), the sumptuous robes and environments – what’s not to like?
The card stock is excellent – nice and slippy for shuffling. It’s a nice size for working with in your hands (RWS sized) nice round corners to keep it looking in tip top condition. It’s a delight that your greedy little tarot heart will desire and I recommend it for beginners and experienced readers alike.
Discover the Orient Tarot (and Alexander’s other work) at www.daniloff-art.it