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The Museum Gift Shop Tarot
on 11 July 2013
I like this deck, for what it is. To begin with the packaging is very clever indeed. A sturdy box with a fliptop lid that quite simply folds back to be propped into little grooves on either side to create a frame into which you can slide any of the cards for contemplation and admiration. That's so fantastic I think I may change my previous declaration that 'all decks should come in a tin' to 'all decks should come in a clever multi-purpose box in keeping with the theme of the deck'.
The cards inside are fairly large. The cardstock is a little on the thin side but sturdy enough to riffle shuffle without fear of damage. The backs of the cards are decorated with a detail from a Klimt painting, a tree with little birds in it.
Each card consists of the traditional tarot title at the top, a painting (all of them quite well known, which some art lovers may find too familiar for the intended use, but which for me is okay, because I don't really know that much about art, and I don't mind the images being familiar), and a quotation from a variety of authors. The paintings and quotations have been selected by the deck creator to embody the essence of the particular card. For the most part, I believe she has succeeded in this.
As an example, the Three of Swords, contains a picture of a dejected man. (When you check the credit, it's actually 'The Agony in the Garden', which means it's Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Now that is surely a 3 of Swords moment! Good heavens!) But without intellectualizing any Jesus references, you can certainly see the suffering and dread in the figure. The images in all the cards go a very long way to expressing the emotion of the traditional tarot card meaning. Then there is a quotation provided, and its role seems to be to embody the essence of the uplifting message inherent in the card. This is true for every card. The meaning of Three of Swords is heartbreak, dejection; the Thoth deck labels it 'Sorrow.' But in this deck, you don't get key words, you get inspiration. 'Difficulties exist to be surmounted.'
I think this is a lovely deck and I am glad I bought it! It's quirky and interesting, and could be a way into tarot for those who are resistant or fear it. (I'm thinking of a work colleague who turns her face away as if avoiding Old Nick himself when I open a tarot deck, but when she saw me playing with this deck the other day I told her, 'These are art cards, each one has a painting and a quotation' and she was quite interested. :) )