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Unsun Karuta - Japan c.1780

18th Century Hand-painted Unsun karuta

Unsun karuta

Above: 30 cards from an 18th century hand-painted Unsun karuta pack. The complete pack has 5 suits of 15 cards: Cups, Swords, Coins, Batons and Tomoe or Drums. Each suit has six court cards: Un (a god of good luck or, in one instance, Daruma, a Zen Buddhist); Sum (an enthroned Chinese official); Sota (a maid); Robai (a dragon which has been transferred from the Portuguese aces to the Japanese court); Kiri or Koshi (King or other enthroned person), and Uma (Cavalier or simply a horse). There are also numerals 9-1, the aces being represented simply by a single suit symbol without a dragon.

Last Updated August 01, 2015 at 04:11pm

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