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Royal Fez Moroccan Deck | Print |

Royal Fez Moroccan Deck

A deck based on the famous Rider-Waite-Smith, whose illustration was commissioned by Roland Berrill, one of Mensa founders.

retro_marocchino.jpgregina_bastoni_marocchino.jpgBerrill wanted the images to remain faithful to the RWS's ones, but at the same time he wanted something reflecting 12th-century Fez.

Art is quite simple, and colours deserve special considerations: the figures are all surrounded by a sort of golden frame (thicker at the base of the Major Arcana, where there is also the number - albeit barely visible - usually associated with the Arcanum, but without its name); the majority of the scene is black and white, whereas the central figure is coloured; a few people say these are muted colours, and I guess they say so because of the black and white prevalence, but the colours used are primary colours and quite flashy. Minor Arcana lack numbers and names, but it's not a problem if you're familiar with the RWS. Moreover, nearly everybody is blond or white-haired, except for the Queen of Wands whose hair is green!


Colours and background considerations aside, the only two cards differing from the traditional Rider-Waite imagery are Death and the Five of Wands.

Death is horseless and the corpses are indistinct (except for the monarch, you cannot tell the social status, age, profession, etc. of the victims of the Grim Reaper).  


The Five of Wands presents a more aggressive, less sporting scene than what is shown in the RWS, placing the emphasis on the fighting instead of playing (the cards on the side are from the Radiant Rider-Waite ® Tarot, "which infuses bold bright colours into the traditional landscape of the original deck first painted by Pamela Coleman Smith"; I chose these to emphasise the contrast with the black and white backgrounds in the Royal Fez Moroccan deck, and I take this opportunity to say that the Radiant Rider-Waite ® Tarot is the easiest deck for me to read with).


On the whole, the Royal Fez Moroccan deck - even though it's far from being artistically breathtaking - is quite easy to read with.