- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 157281411X
- ISBN-13: 978-1572814110
- Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 11.4 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,690,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Physically the deck is roughly 3X4 inches, making it easy to hold even for small hands but large enough to show detail. The coating on the cards is adequate though not as smooth and resilient as some. Perhaps this owes to the fact that the deck is printed in China. I have found that decks printed in Belgium are often superior, but there is a trend toward lighter cards with cheaper coatings almost everywhere. Decks put out by a variety of companies lack their former durability. While this doesn't affect their usefulness to the casual reader it is a consideration for the collector or professional reader.
Reading with the cards is sheer delight if you respond intuitively to rich color. The minor cards display the suit on a hanging tapestry while traditional Rider imagery is shown as if it were a small stage play taking place at the base. The scenes remind me of the traveling miracle plays that roamed Europe in the middle ages.
In addition to this theatrical feeling, the minors are often visted by a variety of brilliant icons that express the energy of the cards and give them a feeling of movement. I especially liked the red birds on the five which is a card that can indicate stagnation. They seem to take you with them as they fly in unified formation. Something is lost to the hooded figure, but already he is directing his energy toward a solution.
Like the birds, water and vegetative symbols run through the cards, reinforcing the feeling that we are looking at a form of Folk Art still attached to the natural world. Even when the symbols act out the basic meaing of the Rider symbolism, vibrant colors and additonal icons take them to a new level. This is evident in the Seven of Wands, a card that usually shows a man on a hill actively and easily fending off anyone who challenges him. In the New Century, tiger-like monsters replace the imagined foes which aren't shown in the Rider. The vibrant red tapestry shares its color with the monsters and we can feel the "heat" of the interchange even though it commands much less space on the cards than the Rider image consumes.
The court Cards are well done though less inspired than the Major and Minor cards. Here much of the traditional symbolism is missing and there is little added to make up for it. This is a common issue with many decks. It seems to stem from the fact that the court cards often come to be associated with people we know and are void of circumstance. I find that some artists feel a strong attraction to the characters in the court while others tend to be constrained by these archetypes. That often results in less "original" interpretations. My favorite of the court is the Page of Swords who comes across as rather vain, leaning casually on his sword as we watches the world through a deceptive mask.The artist is obviously someone who has firsthand knowledge of how nasty this little character can be!!
The real artistry in this deck lies in the Majors. Every one is vibrantly beautiful. Here the natural world comes alive as if dancing a sacred jig before the Lords of the Universe. The faces on most of the cards are small, while their huge flowing garments play out the energy of the concept. Elementals of every description accompany this high court with the Hermit being dogged by a small red dragon in much the same way that the Fool is nipped at by his dog. Though no meaning is given for the "visitor" he invites the intuition to name him and wonder what worldly temptation the Hermit is trying to rid himself of. Each card has a season suggested by a row of distant trees that change foliage from card to card and each, like the minors, acts upon a "stage". But the majors are sole performers and their size, complexity and backdrops of numerous tapestries set them apart. While I hope card makers rethink their cost cutting measures in producing these decks, I would not hesitate to recommend this one, especially to anyone who enjoys the art and colors of the Latin world.