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Frozen Court - The Aethiopic Rendering - Limited Edition Playing Cards

A deck made specifically for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the first African-american college fraternity, for their 2000 convention.

Back design

Frozen Court - The Aethiopic Rendering
One Machete Holdings, Ltd.

Designed by Richard Butler, Illustrated by Paul Hill.

The deck was made specifically for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the first African-american college fraternity, for their 2000 convention. With the exception of nods to the two largest AA sororities, there exists no non-Alpha-related symbolism. The Ancient Egyptian theme of the deck directly relates to the rich significance of that period's symbolism within the fraternity. The deck has 52 cards + 2 jokers plus an explanatory booklet, and is poker-size. Featuring a custom court, custom jokers, and a special Ace, the heart and diamond pips are gold instead of red. Decks are numbered and registered.

Frozen Court
Ace of Spades Joker, aspirant

The spades suit represents the classic "Black & Gold" family (2 parts of which are no longer in existence). The King represents the classic Alpha Pharaoh as it states in the booklet. What is not stated is that the Queen of Spades represents an Alpha Angel (fraternity "little sister"), which is why she has a halo design incorporated into the headgear. She has seven regular spades adorning her vestments and an eighth heart which is inverted to resemble a heart and golden ("Alpha Angels have hearts of gold"). The Jack of Spades represents an Alpha Aspirant (known by various names but mainly as Alpha Men of Tomorrow). He is regarding an ankh (Egyptian symbol of life and wisdom). His vestments bear a half-light half-dark triangle, representing his current stage. This theme of half-in-darkness, half-in-light tied in nicely with the one-eyed requirement. The Queen of Clubs is a nod to the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Her appearance is meant to suggest the "classic" delta appearance, and she has 13 clubs in her hood, as a nod to 1913, the founding date of the sorority. DST is normally linked with the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. An inside joke (for organization members) of making the Queen of Clubs represent DST is that clubs are also known as "puppy-feet", and the Omegas are widely known (and self-referenced) as Que-dogs).

WEBSITE:
Alpha Kappa Alpha
www.aka1908.com

Other African themed decks reviewed on this website include: "Pharaoh Palmier Poker".

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


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