Daily Draw April 3rd, 2010
While browsing through Dame Fortune’s Wheel again yesterday, I realized how many great looking heraldic/knight cards there are. Back when I bought the Grail Tarot I had wanted to buy a painted pewter Templar knight on horseback, but they are very costly, at least $50 and up. However, I did do up a little poem with them.
Editions Dusserre has a fabulous deck of playing cards called Jeu des Armures that I bought some years ago. More knights and costumes, but alas I still didn’t have the money for a figurine.
The boys are growing a bit restless about that as you see. Jumping Jack Joyce was called to arms by Patton and his dog Willie, who then called Jack Skellington, the White Rabbit, and Skeletor out of hiding on the tarot shelf to discuss saving up some money for a knight. Boromir in his guise as a paper doll would have joined the fray but his body went missing some time after the last card I studied in the Lord of the Rings Tarot was done.
Geoffrey de Monmouth would want me to have a pewter knight, as would this trio of cards:
NINE OF CUPS
Oh yes, there is a serious study in here. There always is, as this is a mighty serious place. Huson adapted this image from a Medieval illumination of a jousting champion receiving a wreath for winning from a group of noblewomen. No riff-raff on the tournament field please.
The actual reference is from the Codex Maness as I found in an online search. It’s a very charming picture done in a book around 1304-1340 in Zurich for the Maness family. Very nicely adapted Paul Huson.
Upon checking my book Masterpieces of Illumination, which spells this as Codex Manesse, it was a book of courtly poetry and song lyrics written in Middle High German, and the two members of the Manesse family usually associated with this, died before the book was completed, since it took at least two decades to finish. It’s funny how I’ve looked at that description of this codex before, but it was Paul Huson’s work that really brought it to my attention. That’s one of the reasons I like cards, they tend to provide a window on something, much like a viewfinder in artwork where you are trying to sort out what to paint or how to compose a painting. So instead of a nameless codex, this is now firmly in my mind as the Codex Manesse and tied to the Nine of Cups in a card deck. I’ll never forget it now.
Triumph, victory and achievement, all those things come with this Cups card. This is the Wish Card after all. The high-mindedness of chivalry meets knights in regalia, looking very smartly turned out in blue and red stripes. We must go on a quest for an affordable pewter avatar of such things.
Joyce is the tallest, he shall carry us, while Patton and Willie work on the strategy needed for this lengthy operation. The White Rabbit will time it to perfection, and Jack Skellington has a sack on his back for bringing the prize back to base. Skeletor, who insisted on using the name even though he’s a flimsy plastic sort of guy, will do a secondary reconnaissance for an antique copy of the Odyssey for Joycey, who insisted on getting an antiquity in payment for his help. The bloody cheek of the man, thinking that we have money for his fripperies.
It’s been a while since I went for a look-see of what was available in chivalric pewter. Oh wait, there seems to be some painted ones available in resin too. I’d really like one on horseback, and the resin ones don’t look too bad although they are pretty big at 10 inches or more. I was thinking more like 3 to 6 inches to sit on my card shelf. Now the trick is to get them in Canada or find someone who ships to Canada. And then of course I have to wait 5 months until I have money saved up.
This one is attractive in the resin:
A company named Schleich seems to have some nice resin ones that aren’t too big. They come out with different models every year. I had originally thought to get a Templar knight but some of these jousting knights are very handsome, so the Nine of Cups gave me a nudge.
And now, because this is my regular study of Dame Fortune’s Wheel, we must have a nice Chinese poem to go with this, randomly picked from one of my poetry books.
This was written by a poet called Shen Chou, who was also a painter, and he inscribed this on a landscape painting. The poem is untitled.
White clouds like a scarf enfold the mountain’s waist;
stone steps hang in space–a long, narrow path.
Alone, leaning on my cane, I gaze intently at the scene,
and feel like answering the murmuring brook
with the music of my flute.
“White clouds like a scarf” reminds me of jousting gear, the horses decked out in rich cloth, fluttering like scarves. Of such a landscape is today’s card, murmuring with horse’s hooves and the music of the crowds, and ladies hanging in space, over crenellations like steps, ready to lean out and reward the winner.