These 16th C. German cards are later than the ‘Stukeley’ type cards (described here). Heinrich Hauk’s woodblock-printed cards are produced in a rudimentary style which would not be as expensive as the fine copper engraved cards by the Master of the Playing Cards, whose images are also found illuminating bibles, or the Master PW, who uses a variety of more fanciful suit symbols on round playing cards. These are cards for everyday use, not the wealthy collector's cabinet.
The suits are acorns, roses, birds and bells which in themselves are interesting as they are a hybrid of the German and the Swiss national systems - neither one nor the other. The kings are seated on thrones, three facing right and one to the left, each bearing his suit symbol while three of them also hold sceptres. The upper-knaves hold their suit symbols upwards, the lower-knaves’ are low down. The banner-10 of roses has the date 1585. The complete pack has a total 48 cards: 2-10, lower knave, upper knave & king in each suit (i.e. no aces or queens).
Heinrich Havck zv Franckfvrt
French-suited cards by Heinrich Hauk, c.1590
Female figures didn't appear in German-suited packs but they were part of the French-suited pack when this was introduced, with the jack, queen & king court hierarchy and four suits.
The court cards are named, in the French mannner, after persons from history and mythology; Julius Cesar, Penthesilea (an Amazonian queen in Greek mythology), and so on.
The kings and queens are all standing and elaborately dressed in royal regalia, while the jacks wear feathered hats and short, baggy and fashionable Spanish breeches, very similar to the knaves in the German-suited pack by Hauk (shown above).
• Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library : Fragment sheets of 16th century German playing cards►
• Tor Gjerde : Heinrich Hauk, Frankfurt, 1585►
Member since February 01, 1996
Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.
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