where did tarot cards come from?
the history of the tarot
Circa 1450 A.D.
Prior to the creation of the Tarot, general "playing cards" (not Tarot) were first introduced to Europe in the late 1300's from China. The first distinct Tarot decks were developed in 1410 and 1430 in the Italian cities of Milan, Ferrera or Bologna. The earliest decks were commissioned by Italian nobility in Ferrera and Milan.
but what about Egypt?
There is no direct evidence to support the frequent claims of the Tarot being linked to ancient Egypt, although many of the cards contain Egyptian imagery and visual concepts from other sources of mysticism including the Kaballa. While some historians believe that such imagery is an indication of the cards descending from a much older Egyptian / Middle Eastern lineage, most agree that the cards were developed in northern Italy in the 1400's. The term "Tarot" is derived from the Italian word "tarrocchi"
The card to the right ("The Papesse" or "Faith") depicts the strong Christian references of the early cards.
Evidence suggests that Tarot was first used for divination purposes
beginning in the 16th century.