The World of Playing Cards Logo
Published June 21, 2019 Updated June 08, 2022

Ravi Varma Press

Ravi Varma Press, Bombay, India, c.1910.

1910 India Ravi Varma Press Add to Collection

It is unclear how many decks or different editions of playing cards were published by the Ravi Varma Press of Bombay, India, but the list includes historical and mythological titles. This colourful but untitled example was probably printed in c.1910. As it has square corners, rather than rounded ones, it may be one of the earlier examples.

The twelve court cards are double-ended but not named. They appear to depict Moghul rulers on the kings, their Begums and armed guards on the queens and jacks.

playing cards printed by Ravi Varma Press, Bombay, India, c.1910

Above: the ace of spades with manufacturer’s details and trade mark. The RVP monogram is intertwined with a sprig, which makes the P appear to have a front leg like the R. (Click image to zoom).

Ravi Varma Press, Bombay, India, c.1910 Ravi Varma Press, Bombay, India, c.1910

Above: playing cards printed by Ravi Varma Press, Bombay, India, c.1910. 52 cards + joker. Elephant back design + an extra Deity back design on a spare card. All images courtesy Jon Randall.


FURTHER REFERENCES

Gordhandas, Kishor N.: Playing-cards article about Ravi Varma

Gordhandas, Kishor N.: Raja Ravi Varma's Playing Cards

Randall, Jon: Ravi Varma Playing Cards


Indian Matchbox Labels

Above: assorted matchbox labels with suit symbols (not connected with Ravi Varma Press). Courtesy Rex Pitts.

avatar
3 Articles

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 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 Clubs

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Clubs

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

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

A limited edition art print of the 1984 woodblock joker.

2015 Kings of India playing cards

Kings of India playing cards

Kings of India playing cards depicting the four greatest dynasties of India.

2005 Tarot of the Thousand and One Nights (1001 Nights Tarot)

Tarot of the Thousand and One Nights (1001 Nights Tarot)

This tarot deck captures the idealised Eastern world's magic from the eighteenth and nineteenth cent...

1945 ORIENT The Queen of Cards

ORIENT The Queen of Cards

A unique Art creation of Subho Tagore

1991 Handmade Ganjifa Birds Playing Cards

Handmade Ganjifa Birds Playing Cards

This set of Ganjifa cards is a beautiful example of traditional cards from India.

1911 The British Royal visit to India playing cards

The British Royal visit to India playing cards

printed in Spain for British India in 1911.

1970 Popular Fine Art Litho Works

Popular Fine Art Litho Works

A standard English pack and one adapted for magic tricks by Popular Fine Art Litho Works Ltd., Bomba...

1926 Swadeshi Playing Cards

Swadeshi Playing Cards

Named after the first National movement in India

1930 Waddington’s “Silkette” Playing Cards

Waddington’s “Silkette” Playing Cards

Cards made by John Waddington Ltd. for the Madras Club, Chennai (formerly Madras), India, c.1930.

2002 Ganjifa™

Ganjifa™

A colourful pack of round cards with Ganjifa designs by Asha Industries, Mumbai, India, 2002.

1915 Playing cards for the Bombay Market

Playing cards for the Bombay Market

An interesting pack of playing cards with illustrated Indian aces made "Specially for the Bombay Mar...

1910 Ravi Varma Press

Ravi Varma Press

Ravi Varma Press, Bombay, India, c.1910.

2018 Bharata Playing Cards

Bharata Playing Cards

Bharata Playing Cards - Series 2, based on Indian folk art, published by Sunish Chabba, 2018.

2018 Bharata Major Arcana Tarot

Bharata Major Arcana Tarot

Bharata Major Arcana Tarot inspired by Indian art forms by Ishan Trivedi & Sunish Chabba, 2018.

1980 Far East

Far East

Far East playing cards with designs by Isabel Ibáñez de Sendadiano, c.1980.

2016 Divine Art

Divine Art

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

2016 Guru Ganjifa

Guru Ganjifa

Sunish Chabba is working on an initiative to revive traditional Ganjifa, the card game most popular ...

1998 SiRen International

SiRen International

“SiRen International” playing cards based on traditional style of Indian miniature painting, 1998

2015 Math Stack

Math Stack

“Math Stack” playing cards designed by Diana Stanciulescu, illustrating and explaining 36 important ...

2015 Star Stack

Star Stack

Star Stack playing cards feature illustrations of famous astronomers and important astronomical cons...

EduStack — Playing Cards for Math & Astronomy

EduStack — Playing Cards for Math & Astronomy

EduStack is a team from India passionate about gaming and education that has created two sets of cus...

2006 Lingo Pix

Lingo Pix

Lingo Pix Tourist Picture Cards by TM Cards, India, 2006

1980 Air India

Air India

‘Air India’ playing cards, made in India.

Indian Ganjifa Playing Cards

Indian Ganjifa Playing Cards

‘Ganjifa’ playing cards made in Sheopor in the North of Madhya Pradesh province in Central India. Th...

Parksons

Parksons

Parker & Sons was launched in 1955 by Mr. Parker

Use Rubber At Night

Use Rubber At Night

Shantanu Suman has created a pack to help educate people in India about safe sex and especially targ...

2013 Teen Patti Playing Cards

Teen Patti Playing Cards

Anjali DSouza, an illustrator from Chennai, India has designed a pack of cards using Indian truck ar...

2013 Red Hot Chili Peppers Playing Cards

Red Hot Chili Peppers Playing Cards

This illustration project by Gurleen Kaur features images inspired by the band the Red Hot Chili ...

1940 Chitrashala Press

Chitrashala Press

Chitrashala Press produced some charming children's pictorial alphabet cards for early learning purp...

1922 Dilkhus playing cards for India

Dilkhus playing cards for India

Van Genechten was one of the most competent cardmakers in Turnhout and they produced almost every ki...

Wild Life

Wild Life

World Wide Fund for Nature-India Playing Cards, featuring 53 different colour paintings of a variety...

1950 Dasavatara Ganjifa from India

Dasavatara Ganjifa from India

Chromo-lithograph Ganjifa cards by the Chitrasala Press, around 1950. Ten suits of twelve cards, eac...

1890 Swiss Mogul Cards, 1880-1890

Swiss Mogul Cards, 1880-1890

English type 'Mogul' playing cards manufactured in Switzerland by John Müller for export to India, c...