The Origins of Playing Cards

This page is a quiz to test your knowledge of the early history of playing-cards. If you are not sure of the answer, click the links:

  1. Where did playing-cards come from?

  2. What was the Cultural Context?

  3. What Types of Games were played?

  4. How did Suit Systems evolve?

  5. What is the date of the Earliest Surviving Playing cards?

  6. What did the Earliest European cards look like?

  7. What were the different methods of production?

  8. What were some sources of imagery?

  9. How have some examples of early playing cards survived?

  10. What effects did the Renaissance have?

  11. What are the main Suit Systems?

  12. What are Standard National Patterns?

Note: a more extensive History of Playing Cards might include printing machinery, the sociological and cultural contexts, the games played with playing cards, the design and aesthetic appearance of playing cards, their place in the history of art, the functional aspects as well as the archival, bibliographic and literary evidence. Here we are offering a few hints and insights as a starting point for further enquiries.

detail from 'Man and Woman Playing Cards', circle of Anthoine Palamedesz, 17th century

Above: detail from 'Man and Woman Playing Cards', circle of Anthoine Palamedesz, 17th century. Playing cards are here being used as a metaphor for love: the man is handing the Ace of Hearts to the woman.

Last Updated November 10, 2020 at 08:17pm


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Playing cards have enormous educational value, with a long history and many diverse types and graphical styles from around the world... View More →

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