The World of Playing Cards Logo

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:

medieval

28 Articles

Gambling and Vice in the Middle Ages

Gambling and Vice in the Hours of Charles V: card-playing in the local tavern

Gambling and Vice in the Middle Ages

Jeu “Gerente”

Jeu “Gerente” - published by Moncar in 1983 in the “Cartes de Fantasie” series.

Jeu “Gerente”

Middle Ages

Middle Ages by Germano & Cª, (Litografia Maia),

Middle Ages

Europe

“Europe” designed by Teodoro N. Miciano and printed by Heraclio Fournier in 1962, portraying XIV century European fashions.

Europe

La Baraja

Anonymous “La Baraja” Spanish deck, c.2005.

La Baraja

Hidden meanings in painting by Jheronimus Bosch

Medieval View of Gambling in the ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ by Jheronimus Bosch

Hidden meanings in painting by Jheronimus Bosch

Four Centuries

“Four Centuries” playing cards by Esselte Öbergs with court cards depicted as caricatures from different historical periods.

Four Centuries

British Museum Playing Cards

Unique pack of playing cards created for the British Museum with illustrations by Frances Button.

British Museum Playing Cards

Battle of Grunwald

Medieval style playing cards commemorating the Battle of Grunwald (1410), designed and published by Studio Wena, 2011

Battle of Grunwald

Daveluy

Daveluy produced card games between c.1840 and 1890. Many of his playing cards have historical connotations and show figures with a landscape background.

Daveluy

Moyen-Age by Daveluy

Cartes Moyen-Age by Daveluy, Bruges, c.1875.

Moyen-Age by Daveluy

Baraja Edad Media

Baraja Edad Media, fantasy Spanish-suited medieval playing cards published Mas-Reynals, Barcelona, 1993. Designed by M. Malé and illustrated by V. Maza.

Baraja Edad Media

Master PW Circular Cards

Master PW Circular Playing Cards: roses, columbines, carnations, parrots and hares... everyday objects evoking life and fertility.

Master PW Circular Cards

Phelippe Ayet, c.1574

Archaic, late medieval Spanish-suited playing cards printed by Phelippe Ayet, c.1574.

Phelippe Ayet, c.1574

Hunting Depicted on Playing Cards

In the Middle Ages hunting was an integral part of life.

Hunting Depicted on Playing Cards

Hofamterspiel, c.1460

Hofamterspiel, c.1460

Hofamterspiel, c.1460

The Princely Hunting pack, c.1440

The Princely Hunting Pack, c.1440/45, is attributed to Konrad Witz and his workshop in Basle.

The Princely Hunting pack, c.1440

Early German Engraved Playing-cards

During the second half of the fifteenth century, with printing technology commercially established and playing cards already a mass-produced commodity, a succession of masterly German engravers practised their art and decorative playing cards reached a zenith.

Early German Engraved Playing-cards