Ganjifa cards are used in India, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, and are usually hand-painted. This version was printed chromo-lithographically by the Chitrasala Press in around 1950. Ten suits of twelve cards, each suit is based on one of the ten incarnations of Vishnu. An upper court card, Raja, a lower court card, Pradhan or Mantri, and ten numerals in each suit. Suits are: Matsya (fish), Kurma (turtle), Varaha (boar), Narasimha (lion), Vamana (water pot), Parashurama (axe), Rama (bow & arrow, or monkey), Krishna (quoit or cow), Buddha (conch) and Kalkin (sword or horse).
See also: Dilkhus playing cards for India • World Wide Fund for Nature-India • SiRen International • Chitrashala Press • Hand-painted Dasavatara Ganjifa • Air India • EduStack • Cir-Q-Lar Playing Cards
Member since February 01, 1996View Articles
Curator 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.
Cards made by John Waddington Ltd. for the Madras Club, Chennai (formerly Madras), India, c.1930.
A colourful pack of round cards with Ganjifa designs by Asha Industries, Mumbai, India, 2002.
An interesting pack of playing cards with illustrated Indian aces made "Specially for the Bombay Market", c.1915.
Ravi Varma Press, Bombay, India, c.1910.
Bharata Playing Cards - Series 2, based on Indian folk art, published by Sunish Chabba, 2018.
Bharata Major Arcana Tarot by Ishan Trivedi & Sunish Chabba, 2018. Inspired by Indian art forms.
Qajar Dynasty playing cards, Iran, 19th century.
Divine Art Playing Cards by Sunish Chabba & Guru Playing Card Company, 2016.
Fairy Brand Round Playing Cards No.200A
Sunish Chabba is working on an initiative to revive traditional Ganjifa, the card game most popular 17th Century India.
“SiRen International” playing cards based on traditional style of Indian miniature painting, 1998
“Math Stack” playing cards designed by Diana Stanciulescu, illustrating and explaining 36 important mathematical constants, published by EduStack in India
Star Stack playing cards feature illustrations of famous astronomers and important astronomical constellations.
Donald’s Circular Snap published by Pepys, 1951.
Lingo Pix Tourist Picture Cards by TM Cards, India, 2006
“Globe Playing Cards” patented on Oct. 6, 1874 by I. N. Richardson.
‘Air India’ playing cards, made in India.
‘Ganjifa’ playing cards made in Sheopor in the North of Madhya Pradesh province in Central India. The Ganjifa game probably developed from 13th century games played by Mamluk immigrants from China.
Parker & Sons was launched in 1955 by Mr. Parker
Shantanu Suman has created a pack to help educate people in India about safe sex and especially targeted at India's truck drivers. The artwork is bright and bold, inspired by the popular truck art.
Anjali DSouza, an illustrator from Chennai, India has designed a pack of cards using Indian truck art and the Indian folk art as inspiration.
This illustration project by Gurleen Kaur features images inspired by the band the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Each card had illustrations from their albums and the ace, jack, queen and king are each band members.
Chitrashala Press produced some charming children's pictorial alphabet cards for early learning purposes in the 1940s.
Circular Spanish-suited playing cards for FATE, 2007
Van Genechten was one of the most competent cardmakers in Turnhout and they produced almost every kind of foreign pack for clients all around the world.
C. L. Wüst Oval Patience Karten No. 240, beautifully printed by chromolithography, c.1910.
World Wide Fund for Nature-India Playing Cards, featuring 53 different colour paintings of a variety of wildlife including birds, butterflies, mammals and reptiles.
Master PW Circular Playing Cards: roses, columbines, carnations, parrots and hares... everyday objects evoking life and fertility.
Circular playing cards in a round tin titled: Sutherland's Circular Coon Cards published by Hartley Bros Pty Ltd, Australia, late 19th century.
Cir-Q-Lar Playing Cards. In 1929 John Waddington Ltd commenced the production of circular cards and these were very popular.
VELCAP circular playing cards made by Cappellano S.A., c.1980.
Chromo-lithograph Ganjifa cards by the Chitrasala Press, around 1950. Ten suits of twelve cards, each suit is based on one of the ten incarnations of Vishnu.
English type 'Mogul' playing cards manufactured in Switzerland by John Müller for export to India, c.1880-1890.
Waddington's Cir-Q-Lar Playing Cards, c.1930