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Published June 30, 2011 Updated May 18, 2022

Mayan Cards

Mayan Playing Cards from Guatemala / Baraja Maya / containing illustrations of archaeology, art, folklore, history and mythology of the Mayans.

Guatemala Litografía José Arimany Hijos Amerindian Folklore Myths & Legends Souvenir Add to Collection
detail of God Chaac from Mayan Mythology Playing Cards from Guatemala, printed by Litografía José Arimany Hijos

Mayan Mythology Playing Cards from Guatemala, printed by graphic design and printing firm Litografía José Arimany Hijos (founded 1952) and published by Promotora Continental.

The pack contains 52 cards + 2 jokers. Each card contains a colour illustration of Mayan art, along with the suit symbols and index numbers. The leaflet which accompanies the pack reads: “This edition of Mayan Playing Cards, containing illustrations of archaeology, art, folklore, history and mythology of the Mayans has been carefully designed so that the reproductions of the deities as well as of the archaeological ruins are as accurate as the originals taken from different manuscripts and archaeological ruins engraved in stone and worked in clay; in these designs you will find original art as it was molded many thousand years ago by Mayan artists.”

The Mayan deities depicted on the cards include Chaac, Itzamna, An Puch and Tlaloc as well as their consorts, wives and the feathered snake Quetzalcotl.   See also: Mexican Aztec Cards

Mayan Mythology Playing-cards from Guatemala, printed by Litografía José Arimany Hijos

Above: Mayan Playing Cards - Baraja Maya - from Guatemala. 52 cards + 2 Jokers in box with explanatory leaflet in Spanish and English. The back of the cards shows a double-ended arrangement of Mayan motifs in black and white. The Four of Diamonds shows a whistle from Alta Verapaz, classic period. The Five of Diamonds shows a Trypode polychromed plate, 650 A.D. The Seven of Clubs depicts the God Chaac sitting on a reproduction of his own head.

Mayan Mythology Playing-cards from Guatemala, printed by Litografía José Arimany Hijos Plates 10 and 11 of the Dresden Maya Codex. Drawing by Lacambalam
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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.


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