Dodal detail, eagle from IIII The Emperor

The Tarot of Jean Dodal

Dodal detail, eagle from IIII The Emperor


Here is an extract from the eminent (and long out-of-print)
National Library catalogue:


Tarot, jeu et magie
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris 1984
ref : 39, page 72, Tarot Dodal

Jean Dodal (between 1701 and 1715)
Lyon, France, early 18th century
78 cards (complete deck), enseignes italiennes, engraved on wood, stencil colored
multi-layered paper
123 X 66 mm
on the back : small triangular motifs
identifying marks :
JEAN / DODAL (2 of cups)
PLN / FPE (2 of cups)
FAICT A LYON PAR IEAN DODAL (2 of coins)
F.P. LE TRANGE (Force, the World, knave and knight of Batons, knights of Swords, Cups and Coins)
nomenclature IPCS : IT-1.2

This early 18th century tarot from Lyon makes its intended market clear: it is destined to be exported, as attested by the numerous citations of F.P. LE TRANGE (“fait pour l'étranger”: made for foreigners) which appear on certain face cards. It is true that French card-makers were then beginning to widen their markets: Switzerland had known the tarot from the 16th century and already had its own production (cf. cat. n°43), Germany was just beginning to take an interest, while the most promising market of all was certainly...Italy.

It would seem that Lombard and Piemontaise card-makers gradually abandoned the production of 78-card tarot decks at the end of the 17th century. Or they were at least unable to produce the quantities the market required. It seems very likely that Jean Dodal exported his cards to Italy.

Several minor details differentiate the Dodal deck from later "Marseille"- style productions: the Devil still bears a sort of face on his belly - an entirely traditional image - and the Mat has already become Le Fol, or Fool. These features are enough to incite specialists to see in these cards the archetype for tarots made several decades later in Italy. (See cat. n° 51 to 54)

Paris, B.N., Estampes, kh 381 rés. n° 76
Bibl. : O'Donoghue, F.5; D'Allemagne, I, 192 et II, 610; B.N. n°402; Dummett, 196; PC, XII, n°4, p.128.

PREVIOUS PAGE, Dodal detail, VIIII The Hermit

READ ON, Dodal detail, The Fool