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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.

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religion

13 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

Round the World Families

Round the World Families published by the London Missionary Society, c.1945.

Round the World Families

Anno Domini

Anno Domini biblical card game depicting New Testament history, published by John Jaques & Son, c.1875.

Anno Domini

Mongolian Mask Dancing

Mongolian Religious Mask Dancing playing cards, c.2010

Mongolian Mask Dancing

Jacob’s Bible Cards

Jacob’s Bible Cards published by Lion Playing Card Factory Ltd, Tel Aviv, 1980s

Jacob’s Bible Cards

Progress

The story of “Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan illustrated in a card game published by Castell Brothers Ltd (Pepys Games), 1938.

Progress

Snapshots

Snapshots, a Missionary Card Game depicting people from different cultural contexts engaged in their traditional ways of life...

Snapshots

Jewish Card Game

Judaism is the oldest of the great monotheist religions, parent of Christianity and Islam.

Jewish Card Game

Anti-Religions

The Russians were no strangers to propaganda cards. Clubs represent the Russian Orthodox church, Hearts Roman Catholicism, Spades Confucianism and Diamonds represent Judaism.

Anti-Religions

Geistliche Karten

Geistliche Karten, Augsburg, 1718. Each card carries a text in Gothic typeface giving advice regarding what to do and think each day. Not quite oracle or divination cards, they are more like 'a motto for the day' collection. The method of using the cards is not known.

Geistliche Karten

Naipes Cristianos

“Naipes Cristianos” catechetical playing cards with quotations from the four gospels, 2002.

Naipes Cristianos

Playing Cards and Religion

Early engravers and print makers made devotional images for pilgrims and people who could not afford paintings or books. Many of these craftsmen turned their hand to manufacturing playing cards to earn extra income. Stock images from the repertoire of devotional imagery might also de adapted to serve as playing card symbols.

Playing Cards and Religion

Grace Cards

My creativity proved useful in the Primary School classroom and children's clubs I run at Brooke Baptist Church in Norfolk...

Grace Cards