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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.

Browsing keyword:

culture

25 Articles

Irish Legendary

Irish Legendary deck featuring figures in the Legends of Ireland, designed by Rachel Arbuckle, 1990.

Irish Legendary

Chinese Costumes

Chinese Costumes from the Winterthur Collection, published by Fournier, 1984.

Chinese Costumes

Maya Deck

The Maya Deck produced by Stancraft for Hoyle, 1976.

Maya Deck

Neerlands Glorie

Neerlands Glorie Kwartetspel published by Hausemann & Hötte N.V, Amsterdam, 1945.

Neerlands Glorie

Tonalamatl

Baraja Tonalamatl Mexican Aztec playing cards based on the prehispanic Codex Borgia manuscript.

Tonalamatl

Naipes Cardón

Naipes Cardón designed by Mario Luis Rivero depicting traditional Argentine culture and identity, 2002.

Naipes Cardón

Deutsche Geschichte

German History Quartet published by Otto Maier Verlag Ravensburg, c.1930-35.

Deutsche Geschichte

Roman Empire

Roman Empire playing cards designed by G. Wyatt for Green Board Game Co Ltd., 2011.

Roman Empire

Far East

Far East playing cards with designs by Isabel Ibáñez de Sendadiano, c.1980.

Far East

Mongolian Mask Dancing

Mongolian Religious Mask Dancing playing cards, c.2010

Mongolian Mask Dancing

Story Magazine

Dutch singers, TV and theatre artist playing cards for “Story” magazine, 1978.

Story Magazine

Fair Play cross cultural playing cards

“Fair Play” cross cultural playing cards illustrated by Canadian artist Stephen B. MacInnes.

Fair Play cross cultural playing cards

Cartas Precolombinas

Spanish playing cards with Pre-Columbian designs from Argentina, 2001.

Cartas Precolombinas

Eastern

“Eastern” playing cards dedicated to ethnic Buryat culture, 2015

Eastern

Ancient Civilisations

Ancient Civilisations playing cards designed by Celedonio Perellón, produced by Heraclio Fournier, 1973.

Ancient Civilisations

Terracotta Army

Each card has a different photo of elements of the terracotta army whose purpose was to protect the emperor Qin Shi Huang in his afterlife.

Terracotta Army

Terracotta Warriors of Emperor Qin

“Terracotta Warriors of Emperor Qin” collectible playing cards, made in China, c.2010.

Terracotta Warriors of Emperor Qin

DWYN

Dwyn - a card game about Welsh history designed by Simon Grennan and Christopher Sperandio, 2006.

DWYN

Ainu culture

A terrific deck of cards made by Nintendo c.1979 with original designs on every card showing the Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan.

Ainu culture

Papyrus playing cards

Egyptian ‘Papyrus’ playing cards with beautiful illustrations against a papyrus background.

Papyrus playing cards

La Cumparsita Tango deck

Tango playing cards manufactured in Argentina, 2001.

La Cumparsita Tango deck

Girls’ Generation

“Girls’ Generation” (Korean: 소녀시대; Sonyeo Shidae) is a nine-member South Korean pop girl group formed by S.M. Entertainment in 2007.

Girls’ Generation

Inka Culture

Inka Culture playing cards, Peru, c.2000, promoting alpaca and cotton.

Inka Culture

Cusco Inca Souvenir

Pre-Incas & Incas Souvenir Playing Cards, Cusco, Peru, 2000.

Cusco Inca Souvenir