In addition to the Arabic language or the people who speak it, "Arabic" can also be used to refer to cultural, historical or geographical elements associated with the Arab world. This can include literature, music, art, cuisine and architecture, as well as history, politics, religion, traditions and social structures of different Arab societies. It is worth noting that the term "Arabic" may have different meanings depending on the context in which it is used.
This article was originally published in “The Playing-Card”, the Journal of the International Playing-Card Society (London), Volume XV, No.4, May 1987.
Spanish national pattern by A. Camoin & Cie, Casablanca & Marseille
Gold plated souvenir playing cards from the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel in Dubai.
Cartes La Gazelle, manufactured by Imprimerie de L’Entente, Casablanca
Fortune Tellers use the Hafez Cards by interpreting the Hāfez poems printed on the card backs when cards are selected randomly by their consultants.
Representing Iranian culture and history and intended for a Persian market, these playing cards were designed by V. Romanowski de Boncza, ordered by the Iranian government playing card monopoly at the time and printed by Thomas De la Rue & Co., Ltd, c.1937.
Andalusian playing cards designed by Marifé Montoya Carrillo with booklet by Jorge Lirola Delgado, 2012.
Karl Gerich's “Patience Indien No.16”, published in 1991, is adapted from Grimaud's “Whist Indienne” (c.1900). The double-ended courts are dressed in Arab garb.
“Les Artisans Tunisiens” Jeu de Sept Familles published by Éditions de la Mediterranée, Alpha S.A., Tunis
Nã'ib, the game of lieutenants... these cards are amongst the earliest Arabic playing cards extant.
These two uncoloured, uncut sheets of early Moorish playing cards were formerly preserved in the Instituto Municipal de Historia in Barcelona.