This is a good questions because many people ask this questions and get several answers which is makes the truth not easy to find. In order to know where an when this type of clairvoyance was made we can find some evidence in history and also on a simple tarot deck.
We are sure of one thing: tarot reading is not coming from old Egypt or something like that. Yes papyrus was an possible base for a deck creation but thinking that tarot of Marseille or Rider-Waite deck are coming from here is something wrong because as we can see on each tarot nothing refers to old civilisations.
When History meet tarot cards history
As we can see first on tarot of Marseille (which is a base in cards) is a sum of details which refer all to one historical period: the end of Middle Ages. At this time France was in war with North Italy and church was a little bit less powerful than before. War gave the opportunity to people to exchange ideas and points of view, to exchange and learn techniques. This is the only good aspect of war, it allows to share parts of culture. At this time François the first brought many things from Italy such as arts, architecture and engineering and one new thing card reading clairvoyance.
We are sure that this kind of clairvoyance comes from this time and also from North Italy and South of France and some evidences support this point of view. Some evidences are coming from historians and some are directly viewable on cards.
Some signs demonstrate tarot cards origins
Let’s see old deck’s major arcana . The devil is a good illustration of the fact that cultural influences can be seen on this tool because in the picture we can see the devil, sign which can be connected to catholic influence still powerful here. Europe was more catholic than old Egypt.
Other example: the pope. Nobody except someone religiously influenced would designed a picture such as the Pope.
We can also see the Chariot in order to understand tarot cards history. On this picture a man on a chariot is driving some horses, he wears a crown. These symbols are really connected to the end of middle ages when kings were powerful, when the kind of clothes worn by people was such as those we can see on the picture. This picture and others match with a particular moment of history. If they were designed before it would be too early, after it would be too late.
Look at history book, look at the design of ancient deck and you will find analogies between the two which proves the origin of tarot reading.