Why did the Colours change?

The Restoration of the Tarot de Marseille

The so-called "Marseilles Tarots" in use in the 20th century have, unfortunately, nothing to do with the Tradition. It was high time that Philippe Camoin, heir of the Camoin House, in collaboration with Alexandre Jodorowsky brought the authentic Tradition in use throughout the centuries back into the light of day.

"The colours in the Tarot de Marseille decks in use in the 20th century were copied on the patterns of a Camoin deck printed in 1880, whose colours are a unique faux pas in the history of the Tarot Tradition. Indeed, in 1880, the advent of industrial machines forced the Camoin House to use four-colour printing machines instead of the traditional technique. Before then, colours were stencilled in. Using stencils, five, six or seven colours could easily be used. Further back in time, hand-painted decks had many more colours to them.

But in 1880, production imperatives of the new industrial age cut the number of colours down to four. A new Tarot de Marseille deck was then released by the Camoin House: all the colours now differed from those used over the centuries. Since that particular deck, all Tarot de Marseille decks have copied that colour pattern.

These 1880 colorus have travelled around the world. Did the Tarot de Marseille have to lose its meaning between 1880 and 1998 ? Did it have to remain hidden to the layman for over a century? Was it necessary in the 20th century for it to become only a memory, left to fortune-tellers and a vanished legend for the rest of us?

The colours copied on my family’s 1880 deck have no connection with the Tradition. It is pure fantasy. They were invented for compatibility with the machines. There is no interest in them, even if a large number of authors have tried to find occult meanings in what had none. I therefore strongly advise you to work with the colours of the deck which I have restored with Alexandre Jodorowsky if you want to find the real Source of Tarot. "

Philippe Camoin









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