The World of Playing Cards Logo
Published July 03, 1996 Updated July 15, 2023

The Book of Trades by Jost Amman, 1588

The Book of Trades by the prolific German Renaissance artist Jost Amman (1539-91). Suits are books, printers' pads, wine-pots and drinking cups.

1588 Germany Edizone Il Meneghello Lo Scarabeo Jost Amman Facsimiles & Replicas Renaissance Suits Add to Collection
Woodcut by Jost Amman

Jost Amman, “Book of Trades”, 1588

Following in the wake of Italian art, the German Renaissance developed a new form of medieval knightly culture. Imaginative decks of playing cards were produced by Jost Amman, Schäufelein, Schön and Peter Flötner...

cards from the Book of Trades by the prolific German Renaissance artist Jost Amman (1539-91)

Above: cards from the Book of Trades by the prolific German Renaissance artist Jost Amman (1539-91). Suits are books, printers' pads, wine-pots and drinking cups. Some of the images had already appeared in books published prior to the cards, along with moralising verses beneath each card. The deck promotes industry and learning over idleness and drunkenness.

"Indulging their fancy, they [German card-makers] varied the signs according to every capricious notion: unicorns, dogs, rabbits and apes, monkeys and lions, parrots and peacocks, stroll or fly or flutter through the cardboard world. Packs appeared with suits of pinks, of columbines, printers' inkpads, vases, drinking cups, books, combs, fishes, crowns, bellows, frying-pans, shields, alms-houses and knives; some were circular."  Roger Tilley 'Playing Cards', p. 35.

The artist's humour is discernible in almost every card, where little groups of figures decorate the numeral cards. Jost Amman's cards influenced several later cardmakers. Below are two recent facsimiles   read more

The Book of Trades by Jost Amman (1588) published by Lo Scarabeo, 2004 The Book of Trades by Jost Amman (1588) published by Lo Scarabeo, 2004 The Book of Trades by Jost Amman (1588) published by Lo Scarabeo, 2004

Above: cards from facsimile edition “The Book of Trades” by Jost Amman (1588) published by Lo Scarabeo, Torino, Italy 2004. This modern edition contains 2 jokers and six extra information cards  see more →

The Book of Trades by Jost Amman (1588)

Above: the four cards designated by the Roman numeral 'X' are female. Are these 'Queens' or female pages? German decks, like Spanish ones, do not usually contain Queens. The Kings are mounted on horseback. If these ladies are Queens then we have an Italian or French element to account for. But in Spanish decks the 10s are 'Sotas' and sometimes female. Cards from the limited edition facsimile deck published by Edizone Il Meneghello, Via Fara 15, Milano, Italy.

avatar
1,432 Articles

By Simon Wintle

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.


Related Articles

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

A limited edition art print of the 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil King of Diamonds

Woodblock and Stencil King of Diamonds

A limited edition art print of the King of Diamonds 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.

1996 Postak – Las Postas

Postak – Las Postas

‘Postak - Las Postas’ playing cards commemorating the history of the Basque postal service, Spain, 1...

1987 Bischofszell

Bischofszell

Advertising pack for the food producer Bischofszell, designed by Heinz Looser-Brenner, with non-stan...

1978 Wedding of Krechinsky • Свадьба Кречинского

Wedding of Krechinsky • Свадьба Кречинского

A pack of cards depicting characters from the famous play "The Wedding of Krechinsky" by Sukhovo-Kob...

2003 The Lovers playing cards

The Lovers playing cards

Reproductions of old postcards with romantic messages for Valentine’s Day.

2004 Freimaurer Spielkarten / Masonic playing cards

Freimaurer Spielkarten / Masonic playing cards

Masonic playing cards created by Ivan Wojnikow, 2004.

1985 I Gatti Originali di Evelyne Nicod

I Gatti Originali di Evelyne Nicod

Etchings of cats on a set of major arcana created by Evelyne Nicod.

1973 Marcello Morandini

Marcello Morandini

Modern designs by Italian artist Marcello Morandini using the simplest of forms and colours.

2002 Portrait de Fribourg

Portrait de Fribourg

Fine reproduction of a Fribourg pattern pack, originally by Jean-Jacques Burdel.

1989 Orientierungslauf Skat

Orientierungslauf Skat

Humorous designs by Helmut Härtelt on the subject of orienteering.

1990 Borna Skat

Borna Skat

Publicity pack for the Saxon town of Borna, with designs by Andreas Wachter.

1987 Postgeschichte

Postgeschichte

A celebration of different postal systems in Germany from 1630 to 1850, with designs by Volker Hartm...

1870 Kings and Queens of Brazil & Portugal

Kings and Queens of Brazil & Portugal

Historical playing cards by C. L. Wüst depicting monarchs of Brazil and Portugal.

2010 FDR New Deal Deck

FDR New Deal Deck

Facsimile of ‘FDR New Deal Deck’ of 1934 re-published by Bill Schroeder, USA, 2010.

1825 Mythological tarot by Michael Schatzberger

Mythological tarot by Michael Schatzberger

Mythological tarot by Michael Schatzberger, Passau, Bavaria, early 19th century.

1819 Ansbach pattern by Emil Doll

Ansbach pattern by Emil Doll

Later Ansbach or Nürnberg pattern by Emil Doll, Neustadt.

1825 Cartomancy deck by Johann Ernst Backofen

Cartomancy deck by Johann Ernst Backofen

German-suited Cartomancy deck published by Johann Ernst Backofen, Nürnberg.

1739 Trappola pack by Joseph Fetscher

Trappola pack by Joseph Fetscher

Trappola pack published by Joseph Fetscher, Graz, 1739.

1820 Animal Tarot by Joseph Fetscher

Animal Tarot by Joseph Fetscher

French-suited Natural History Tarot deck by Joseph Fetscher, Munich, c.1820.

1967 Winstanley Geographical cards

Winstanley Geographical cards

Facsimile of Winstanley’s Geographical cards produced by Harold & Virginia Wayland, 1967.

1820 Heathen Wars

Heathen Wars

German-suited ‘Heathen War’ playing cards published by Joseph Fetscher, Munich, c.1820.

1971 Meal Tub Plot

Meal Tub Plot

Meal Tub Plot playing cards [facsimile] with 17th century sketches by Francis Barlow.

Mythological and Allegorical tarot

Mythological and Allegorical tarot

Mythological and Allegorical tarot produced by Peter Paul Fetscher junior, Munich.

1825 Fantasy deck by Joseph Fetscher

Fantasy deck by Joseph Fetscher

Fantasy French-suited pack produced by Joseph Fetscher, Munich, c.1825.

1810 Miniature playing cards by Joseph Fetscher

Miniature playing cards by Joseph Fetscher

Uncut sheet of miniature Bavarian playing cards by Joseph Fetscher.

1760 Vogelspiel

Vogelspiel

Vogelspiel, a German card game known as the “cuckoo game” also known as “Gnau”.

1830 Bavaria pattern

Bavaria pattern

Classic German-suited Bavarian pattern by Joseph Fetscher, Munich, early 19th century.

Animal Tarot by Andreas Benedict Göbl

Animal Tarot by Andreas Benedict Göbl

French-suited Animal Tarot deck produced by Andreas Benedict Göbl, Munich.

Standard French-suited Bavarian deck by Göbl

Standard French-suited Bavarian deck by Göbl

French-suited Bavarian deck by Andreas Benedict Göbl, late 18th c.

1820 Historical playing cards by Joseph Fetscher

Historical playing cards by Joseph Fetscher

Historical playing cards by Joseph Fetscher, Munich, c.1820.

Illustrated piquet cards

Illustrated piquet cards

Bavarian piquet cards with oriental illustrations produced by Andreas Benedict Göbl, Munich, late 18...

1800 Costumes of Turkey Tarot

Costumes of Turkey Tarot

‘National Costumes of Turkey’ tarot by Industrie Comptoir, Leipzig, c.1800-1825.

1810 Natural History Tarot

Natural History Tarot

Natural History Tarot published by G M, Germany, early 19th C.

1800 Æsop’s Fables tarot

Æsop’s Fables tarot

French-suited Æsop’s fables tarot produced by Leipzig Industrie Comptoir, c.1800-1825.

1989 Storia del Fascismo

Storia del Fascismo

Published by Il Meneghello, this pack provides a visual history of Fascism in Italy between 1919 and...

1985 Das Nassauische Kartenspiel

Das Nassauische Kartenspiel

Pack conceived by Berthold Conradi, commemorating the 700th anniversary of the granting of town righ...

1930 Jägerkarte Nr.465

Jägerkarte Nr.465

Dondorf Jägerkarte Nr. 465 playing cards dedicated to the theme of hunting, c.1930.

1867 Englische Karten nr.190

Englische Karten nr.190

Dondorf Nr.190“Englische Karten”, 1867-1895.

1852 Pomeranian Tarot

Pomeranian Tarot

A Pomeranian Tarot deck with etchings by Georg Pommer published by Conrad Jegel, 1852.

2021 Jack-O’-Lantern Tarot

Jack-O’-Lantern Tarot

Giuliano Costa's Jack-O’-Lantern tarot blends Rider-Waite symbolism with the rich and atmospheric th...

1968 Möbel-Spiel

Möbel-Spiel

Publicity pack for the East German furniture industry, with designs by Werner-Hans Schlegel.