Spanish suited playing cards made in Germany
During the second half of the fifteenth century a succession of masterly German engravers practised their art and decorative playing cards reached a zenith. The South German Engraver was one such craftsman who produced an elaborate, Gothic Spanish-suited pack of playing cards. Slightly before this the Master of the Banderoles also produced engraved Italian or Spanish-suited playing cards of which only eight cards survive. Conforming to an archaic format of 52 cards with banner 10s, female 'Sotas', horsemen and kings, these packs are of interest on account of a number of other packs with similar stylistic characteristics surviving elsewhere, suggesting an archaic prototype for the Spanish-suited genre used between c.1450-1520.
The example shown above is another anonymous pack sharing similar characteristics with other examples. See also: Master of the Banderoles • The South German Engraver • Gothic Spanish Playing Cards • Master PW Circular Playing Cards • The Master of the Playing Cards