The earliest known decks of tarot cards created in Italy in the late 15th century were used as a game. The tarot's association with fortune telling and gypsies did not come about until the late 1700s. The first decks were hand painted for wealthy families who had the money to commission the decks as well as the time to play with them. After the advent of lithography, the easy replication through printing made tarot decks much more accessible to the everyday man and woman. In today's world, the tarot has numerous uses, most of which have the purpose of encouraging self-knowledge and reflection. The beauty and lyricism of hundreds, and even thousands, of tarot decks illustrated throughout the last 600 years, as well as those currently in circulation and those yet to be designed and published, make them a unique art form. This book celebrates that art form.
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