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François de Poilly Minchiate


Image of François de Poilly Minchiate

François de Poilly was a 17th century engraver by trade and created this Minchiate deck consisting of 97 cards. This is a facsimile reproduction. The Minchiate was originally an elaborate card game similar to tarot but the rules are lost to history.

All the titles are in French and there are 41 majors. The first numbered card is Mercury -- the messenger who introduces the rest of the cards that follow. The next ones are Love, Venus, Bacchus, Prudence, Charity, Justice, Hope, Strength, Fortune, followed by 4 'ages', 5 senses, 4 elements -- earth air fire water, 12 months represented by the corresponding astrological symbols, and finally stars, moon, sun and world. The last card, La Renommé, depicts a winged character hovering in a cloud over a town, with a horn in his mouth -- resembling the Judgement card in tarot. All these cards are numbered in sequence and then there's an unnumbered card titled "Monmus" that resembles the Fool in tarot,

There are 56 cards that are like current playing cards with royalty depicted from the 4 continents as were then known Asia, Europe, America and Africa -- Valet, Cheval, Dame, Roy plus 1-10 pips.

There is also no tradition associated with fortune telling with the Minchiate but fortune telling with them can be an adventure.
All these cards are wonderful works of art and as one buyer described them, "Lordy, I love reading with this monster deck. It's operatic."

When Caitlín Matthews received her deck, she described it, "Francois de Poilly Tarot: a 17th century French Minchiate with a difference. The suits are French, the courts are from Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia. We have the 5 senses, the ages of man, the months with zodiacal sign and a few other lovelies like the Gods. The cards are perfectly sized for my hands being Lenormand sized. I am very happy indeed."

It is bridge size, 2.25" x 3.5" printed on premium card stock and comes in a sturdy plastic case