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Published September 28, 2014 Updated July 10, 2022

Bretagne

Jeu de Cartes “Bretagne” conveying their cultural identity.

1960 France Cartamundi Mesmaekers Matéja Asterix Brittany Celtic Ethnic & Indigenous Add to Collection

Jeu de Cartes “Bretagne”

Jeu de Cartes “Bretagne” designed by Matéjà (Marie-Therese Jallon) featuring Breton folklore with celtic decorative motifs on the back. In Breton folklore, a Korrigan (Joker card, right) is a leprechaun or dwarf-like spirit who, on account of magical powers, is sometimes believed to be evil. The courts wear idealised traditional costumes from different parts of Brittany to convey their cultural identity. An extra card in the pack names the four aces and court cards

As we remember from the maps in Asterix books, Brittany is in the northwest tip of France. Breton is a Brythonic Celtic language closely related to Cornish and a bit more distantly to Welsh. Bretons are concerned about the decline of their language and traditional way of life. Some customs from pre-Christian tradition are preserved in the folklore of Brittany.

Above: Jeu de Cartes “Bretagne” featuring Breton folklore, manufactured by Carta Mundi. Earlier editions were published in Belgium by Mesmaekers. Images courtesy Rex Pitts.

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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

Rex's main interest was in card games, because, he said, they were cheap and easy to get hold of in his early days of collecting. He is well known for his extensive knowledge of Pepys games and his book is on the bookshelves of many.

His other interest was non-standard playing cards. He also had collections of sheet music, music CDs, models of London buses, London Transport timetables and maps and other objects that intrigued him.

Rex had a chequered career at school. He was expelled twice, on one occasion for smoking! Despite this he trained as a radio engineer and worked for the BBC in the World Service.

Later he moved into sales and worked for a firm that made all kinds of packaging, a job he enjoyed until his retirement. He became an expert on boxes and would always investigate those that held his cards. He could always recognize a box made for Pepys, which were the same as those of Alf Cooke’s Universal Playing Card Company, who printed the card games. This interest changed into an ability to make and mend boxes, which he did with great dexterity. He loved this kind of handicraft work.

His dexterity of hand and eye soon led to his making card games of his own design. He spent hours and hours carefully cutting them out and colouring them by hand.


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