The other day I received samples of the new papyrus edition of Rosetta Tarot. It was kind of weird how it happened, and I still cannot explain it and neither can the only other witness. I only tell you this, because it was, umm strange as shit. Well, sh*t isn’t strange it is just a duty but you know what I mean. There seems to be no metaphysical point or anything, but it is just one of those rare things where something strange happens and there is zero quantity logical explanation.
We were both here enjoying an unseasonably warm and sunny February day. I happened to go in and glance at email which had a tracking update that said the new version of the Rosetta’s deck sample was here from the printers, and had been delivered between 5-10 minutes ago according to the FedEx time stamp. I had not heard the truck arrive but since we and the dog were all out on a back upper deck it seemed normal and possible. “Cool!” He offered to go and bring it in. He looked on the ground level deck at the driveway side of the house where such things usually end up when they are from FedEx. Not there. He checked the stairs leading to the deck. The deck has a closed gate at the top of the stairs, to keep chickens from coming up on the deck to shit and eat the spilled bird seed that is supposed to be for other birds (who have smaller shit). It (the package) was not in front of the gate on the deck or behind the gate on the stairs.
He looked at the front steps, front door. Not there. He looked in the mailbox, and looked up and down the street for the FedEx truck. Not there, no truck. Hmmm I said, wth? I checked the tracking again which said “Left at back door”. Back door? There is no back door here. Could they mean the entryway into the cellar, such as it is? That sounded completely ridiculous as that a treacherous path that no one would deliver to, but he looked anyway. Not there of course. I began to worry it was delivered to the wrong address. I looked on the deck all around, in case I somehow missed it (junk on the deck).Went outside to look for it myself, on the stairs to the deck, in the driveway. Nada. Was considering emailing printer to confirm they shipped it to the address I gave them and started to write them. Then I hear “Hey! What the hell, look where it is!” I come downstairs before sending the email and look out to see the package ON THE DECK, right in the open in front of the gate in front of the stairs. Where both of us had just been multiple times. And would have had to have moved to open the gate. Where there was no way to miss it, at all. Where in order for us to get out to check the mailbox etc would have had to trip over it. So it came, somehow, in the 20-30 seconds between one of us being down checking the cellar door and the other stepping away to do the email inquiry. There was no package in that spot a second ago, and no FedEx truck anywhere for miles. It supposedly by that time, had been delivered maybe 15-20 min ago. So weird!! I am always willing to think wormholes in space or time or even my mind are possible, (definitely the latter) but the person I was with is someone who always doubts that shit, and his mind was blown. Neither of us has been able to come up with a single explanation that makes sense. They are all made up shite. It truly seems like the deck package came out of nowhere.
Anyway, the sample was not shite. It was in fact great, and what was pretty mind blowing in itself was that in comparing it to the original edition, I can see so much evidence of how printing technology has evolved, in only 5.5 years! I took a copy of Rosetta Tarot’s first edition, and the sample copy of the Rosetta Papyrus edition and laid them side by side. Right away I saw a big difference especially in the color blue in many cards. So I decided to compare them both to the original artwork. Holy shit Batman! That was very enlightening.
I don’t know about you and how your mind works, but mine I have found seems to be non-linear in some ways. I honestly only vaguely remember when I first printed the Rosetta. It was less than six years ago, sheesh. I know I must have compared the first edition to the art, all those years ago. But it was striking to see how much more difference there was between the original with the first edition, and how closely in more cases the new edition matches the original art. So thus I say Rosetta is not only redux but remastered.
I admit that on just a few of the cards I prefer the first edition. Usually ones with a certain deep shade of red. But it isn’t that many. For the majority of the cards, the new edition looks better and more interestingly, matches the original art way more. From the same scans.
What is cool though is that in the first edition of Rosetta, it seems like the colors are darker and ultra saturated, but how I think that actually looks better with the black borders than this new, far better quality printing, might look with black borders. My theory is that when I printed the first edition I asked them to make the black of the borders extra dark and extra black, if you know what I mean, like a blue black. So perhaps to achieve that they had to tweak to overall color. I’ll probably never know unless I ever go visit the printing place in person and talk color balancing as they work. I’ve never had that luxury. For all of the various deck projects I’ve printed so far (Rosetta first edition, Rosetta pocket edition, Tabula Mundi extra large B/W Majors, and Color Majors, Tabula Mundi Nox et Lux, Colores arcus, and Babalon editions) I had to rely on getting a sample, and just deciding if overall I liked it. Though I don’t remember doing so I’m sure I must have looked at Rosetta’s original art as compared to the first edition. I was happy with it at the time, and it was the first thing I’d ever had printed. But now seeing how much better this new printing is I am shocked as how much better printing tech has gotten in only a few years. When first edition Rosetta was printed, it was on a machine that there was only one of. In the world. It was cutting edge. And it came out great. But now there are better printing machines and processes, the printers have different machines. Some things now you can even do at home yourself not too expensively so it is a golden age for artists. What a difference though in about five years.
Oh and the same day, a little while later, the box sample arrived. With no mystery, it arrived the usual way in the fabric of space time. The cards were test fitted into the box and determined to fit, I decide to make the box a mm deeper anyway. The box sample as seen at the beginning of this post with the moon card, does not yet have the gold foil symbol embossed on it. The sample is plain just so I can test fit the cards and see overall quality and paper. I love the midnight blue paper. It is exactly the color and texture I wanted with the gold foil. You can’t see it well in that picture but it has a very subtle textural sheen. Which is a miracle really as this factory usually has only 1-3 colors of papers to choose from at any given time for this small of an small order. They happened to have midnight blue, and a pleasing texture as well. They could have had this weird plaid texture or a really utilitarian texture; sometimes that is what they have. But fortunately, they had the exact type of paper I saw in my minds eye as what I wanted. So, cool!
So this is another difference between the first edition and the new papyrus edition. The box in the new edition is a sturdy and beautiful box with a gold foil symbol emboss instead of a clamshell tuckbox. the first edition box with the side loading clamshell was better than a top loading tuckbox, but still a tuckbox with writing on it. The new boxes are display worthy. They will actually match the Colores Arcus and Nox et Lux boxes in a way, because those are the same type simple boxes with a foil symbol, only Tabula Mundi has a silver foil symbol and different colored paper on the box depending on edition.
Also, the cardstock of the new edition is a tiny bit thicker. Still the same type of paper as original Rosetta but one grade up. You can see here that while the cards are the same size, the new deck is just a little bit taller. The cards still fit in my small hands well, and riffle shuffle easily. So I am in love with the new sample deck, even before seeing the gold version. There will also be a small edition of “papyrus gold” edition, of only 220 decks that will have that thin rectangular border around the image itself done in gold foil. The cartouche and glyphs will still be in the handwritten walnut ink color, the gold will be only be the thin line around the painting. I think it will be subtle but will go well with the images and give them dimension, as well as a link with Egypt and gold. This gold edition will have some extras as well, to be determined.
If you want to get on the list to know when the Rosetta papyrus edition is available, please email me at mm(at)tabulamundi(dot)com