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Published April 18, 2017 Updated November 24, 2023

Divine Art

Divine Art Playing Cards by Sunish Chabba & Guru Playing Card Company, 2016.

2016 India Guru Playing Card Company Sunish Chabba Folklore Hindu Myths & Legends Symbols Add to Collection

Divine Art Playing Cards is a limited edition produced by Sunish Chabba & Guru Playing Card Company, 2016, inspired by Hindu mythology. Because of the cultural ties to India, the deck aims to keep alive the visions of traditional art forms and will appeal to a wide range of tastes. Showcasing precision and technically exquisite detail, design credits are also due to Anaya Purandare & Anjali D'Souza.

The Project was relaunched in a White Gold edition on kickstarter

The Court Cards

The basis of the Indian world view is of Cosmic unity underlying the physical diversity of the world, through which man transcends himself. Since almost every Indian folk art form is based on Hindu mythology, the jacks, queens and kings of each suit depict various Gods and Goddesses as well as their mounts (vahanas/vehicles). The coherent colour palette also has an underlying symbolic meaning.

Above: the court cards have the quality of a block print, which is commonly known to leave white spaces between different parts of a pattern or illustration. Visnu, Shiva, Brahma, Krishna... the deities depicted on the court cards, along with their respective consorts, evoke man’s relatedness to the cosmos.

The Four Aces

Four Custom Aces also incorporate symbolism from Indian mythology and follow the same sequence as the courts. Concentric lines define volume and create a rhythmic unity, and the underlying geometrical forms generate a pleasing multi-dimensional effect.

Divine Art Playing Cards by Sunish Chabba & Guru Playing Card Company, 2016

Above: the ace of spades represents Vishnu's forehead adornment; the ace of diamonds is the trident symbol of Lord Shiva; the ace of clubs is the Lotus of Lord Brahma upon which he sits; the ace of hearts is the peacock feather, symbol of Krishna.

The Numeral Cards

The original designs for the number cards include a hint of a hidden mathematical order, giving a universal appeal at the level of archetypes, which completely transcends the usual mundane arrangement of pips. The contrasting pale and dark pip colours are very clear and enhance the legibility of the design.

Divine Art Playing Cards by Sunish Chabba & Guru Playing Card Company, 2016

Above: the curved forms and detached elements in the pip motifs are inspired by traditional Indian art. The elementary geometrical forms generate multi-dimensional figures, like patterns of forces, which suggest a hidden mystery.

And Finally...

Divine Art Playing Cards by Sunish Chabba & Guru Playing Card Company, 2016

Above: this classic back is inspired by Mehndi/Henna designs. The two tricksters – Mohini (femme fatale, enchantress) and Narada (Vedic sage, traveling musician and storyteller) disobey the normal rules of accepted conventional behaviour and may even use secret knowledge to play tricks. The prototype deck is printed by MPC, Hong Kong. The main production will be done by Expert Playing Card Co if Kickstarter succeeds.

The Project has been relaunched here on kickstarter

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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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