Tarot and Other Meditation Decks: History, Theory, Aesthetics, Typology
Hundreds of new Tarot decks have been produced in the late twentieth century, many of them based on the structure and images of Arthur Waite and artist Pamela Smith’s Rider-Waite deck (1910). The continuing popularity and influence of the Rider-Waite deck makes it a standard for identifying, categorizing and analyzing contemporary Tarot and other meditation decks. This work of art history analyzes such decks in relation to conventional art styles and movements, including Symbolism, Surrealism, the modernist “grid” and the low/high value hierarchy, and postmodern art movements and concepts such as the dissolution of the modernist value hierarchy, Pattern and Decoration art, and collage. It also examines them in relation to literary concepts, including the novel, utopias, and popular genres. The author’s analysis is supported by numerous illustrations, including the Rider-Waite major arcana cards juxtaposed with examples of their counterparts from more recent decks.
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