Bordi Rivoltinati: The Rosenwald Tarocchi with Folded Borders by Marco Benedetti
Here’s a deck that not only looks like the fifteenth century, but feels like the fifteenth century: I Tarocchi Rosenwald restored by Marco Benedetti, with hand-folded paper borders (Bordi Rivoltinati). Benedetti glues backing paper to each card, clips the corners then folds the borders to the front using traditional checkered paper. Every Italian playing card was made with this labor-intensive technique from the fifteenth century to the 1930s.
The deck shuffles like a dream. Handling these cards is one of the most sensuous experiences I’ve had with a tarot deck. The cards passing through my fingers feel like silk and whisper like a breeze through curtains. While being shuffled, their voice is soft and muted. This is a very special, elegant deck.
Each card is framed like an icon, intensifying its energy and clarifying its message. I find these cards especially suited for one of my favorite techniques—laying out two cards in paired spread positions: Do This—Don’t Do That. What’s Arriving—What’s Leaving. The Problem—The Solution. The Gift—The Challenge. Make up your own to fit any situation. (At the bottom of the page, see the cards in the Cross Spread).
Folded borders are unique to Italy and date back to the 15th century. Here’s the front and back of a Devil card printed by Agnolo Hebreo in the 16th century (British Museum). The folded borders reinforced the edges and prevented the laminated layers of paper from separating during shuffling. By the 1930s, better adhesives made reinforced borders unnecessary.
Benedetti creates each deck to order. First he prints a Rosenwald deck. He glues the backs to all 78 cards, clips the edges, then folds and glues the borders to the front. Here’s a picture of a card in progress. The intense labor makes for a rather pricey deck. If you want the look of the borders without the actual paper, you can request printed borders.
Email Marco to arrange for a custom printing of any of his decks:
See the decks Benedetti offers on his facebook page:
A review of Benedetti’s Rosenwald deck:
An article in Italian about the folded borders:
Here’s my favorite way of doing the Cross (Quintessence) Spread. I shuffle the suit cards separately, lay out the four cards, then put a trump card derived from the sum of the suit cards in the middle. Here’s an article explaining this spread.