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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Naipes Ombú

Naipes Ombú by C. Della Penna S.A., Buenos Aires, c.1950.

Naipes OMBÚ playing cards manufactured by C. Della Penna S.A.C.I., Buenos Aires, c.1950s

Naipes Ombú was one of Della Penna's brands of French-suited playing cards, alongside Naipes Congreso, Naipes Guarany and Naipes Inca. The ombú is a massive evergreen tree native to the Pampas of South America, and is illustrated on the 2 Jokers and the ace of spades. It is a symbol of Uruguay, Argentina, and of Gaucho culture.

Naipes Ombu

By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.