The Visconti-Sforza Tarot deck is a 15th-century Tarot deck and one of the oldest known to exist. It had a significant impact on the visual composition and interpretation of modern decks.
Interestingly, one of the typically masculine card, The Chariot, showcase a woman, while Strength, which generally presents a woman, showcase a male figure.
The surviving cards are of particular historical interest because of the beauty and detail of the design, which was often executed in precious materials and often reproduce members of the Sforza and Visconti families in period garments and settings. Consequently, the cards also offer a glimpse of nobiliary life in Milan, which the two families called home since the 13th century.
The name “Visconti-Sforza tarot” is used collectively to refer to incomplete sets of approximately 15 decks, now located in various museums, libraries, and private collections around the world. No complete deck has survived; rather, some collections boast a few face cards, while some consist of a single card.
Illustration from the Visconti-Sforza tarot (“Visconti Sforza Pierpont Morgan-Bergamo Tarocchi”) copyrights by US Games Systems, Inc.