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Mordreth's Review
Having already snapped up some of The Tarot Chests other Specials, and been delighted with several of the lovely Celtic Birth Charms and Greenwood Pendants, I decided to see what the Briar pendants...

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Magic Manga Tarot 

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Drawn by Viviane, an experienced Manga artist, these cards have been designed in a vintage style, with attractive muted colours and lively use of lines and patterns. All the card titles and suits are traditional (Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles); Justice is VIII and Strength is XI.

By Viviane
Published by AGMuller
78 cards
120 x 70 mm
ISBN: 978-3-03819-404-0
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* View all cards in this deck at Tarot.com

[22/10/2011] Mordreth's Review
I believe if Id heard a description of these cards without seeing the illustration featuring The Fool on the box, I doubt I would have sought them out. Keynotes in any descriptions would most probably include mention of the colours and the heavy borders. As is suggested by the colours in the Fool card, the colours throughout the deck are muted. And although the colours vary from card to card, no card offers a striking range of colours. Similarly, the heavy ornate borders appear on all 78 cards, although there are five different colours used, all muted: the sand colour surrounding the Fool is used throughout the Major Arcana. And four different colours are used to distinguish the four suits: a reddish-brown for the Wands; a grayish-blue for the Cups; a pale yellow for the Swords and a mid-green for the Pentacles.

Muted though the colours are, the borders work extremely effectively: in a spread, which suit is strongly present or largely or entirely absent is obvious immediately. As for the colours in the artwork, limited though the range of colours is in any given card, the blending of colours is always aesthetically pleasing and strongly enhances what, for me, is the main appeal of these cards: the quaintly old-fashioned, fantastical and extremely stylish artwork, particularly the distinctive large eyes and at times large pointy ears as well, for example in the 4 of Wands and the 10 of Cups and the superbly expressive facial expressions of all of the human characters, again throughout the entire deck.

These cards entice me into a delightful otherworld, quite unlike that in the other more overtly fantastic worlds that have been created for us in, for example, the many faerie and vampire decks. In so many decks that Ive grown to like or love, there are often one or two, or sometimes even several, cards that I find displeasing; and that can be enough to make me disinclined to use the deck in readings. In this deck, there isnt a single card that I seriously dislike.

Initially, my only real disappointment with this deck was that the LWB offers absolutely no insight into the creative process behind the creation of the cards. But there is, of course, a positive side to this: the necessity to explore the cards through ones own very personal journey, a process which ultimately helps to make for more intuitive readings.

These cards sometimes equate with the essence of the Waite-Coleman Smith deck; but often bear little or no resemblance to it at all. For those who like to know, VIII is Justice and XI is Strength. Another striking feature of the deck is the fact that the court cards for the four suits are more differentiated from each other, both within the suit and between suits, than is often the case; the pages are all young girls and all the individuals in the court cards even most of the kings are considerably younger than they are in most decks.


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