This 36-card pack of playing cards was designed by Victor M. Sveshnikov (1907-1988) and manufactured by the Colour Printing Plant, Saint Petersburg. The Russian title translates as “Playing cards in the style of Russian lubok images”.
The lubok can be described as an "illustrated broadside" or "popular print" characterized by simple graphics and narratives derived from literature, religious stories, and popular tales. It is a form of graphic art in which an artist creates a woodcut, makes prints from it, and then paints them by hand. The name comes from the word luba, meaning the inner part of linden bark, which was used to create the woodcut.
Originally plots for the pictures came mainly from the Bible but over time they depicted satires, folklore, soldiers, battle scenes, mythology, and images of such everyday 19th century Russian life as village scenes, traveling, hunting, domestic, and agrarian activities. Luboks were also used to ridicule the vanity and greed of the upper classes.
Member since July 27, 2022
I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.
Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.
Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.
A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
Giuliano Costa's Jack-O’-Lantern tarot blends Rider-Waite symbolism with the rich and atmospheric th...
Theatre of Pain / Teatr boli playing cards depicting politicians and leaders in the Caucasus territo...
Baraxa Galega designed by F. Perez Llamosas and published by Naipes Heraclio Fournier, 1983.
Soviet and other Communist celebrities depicted on every card, designed by Vladislav Pankevitch.
Costumes, masks and symbols from the island of Sardinia, with designs by Luciano Dettori and Tonino ...
Pacific Northwest native Indian masks with artwork by Margaret Parrott, USA, 1992.
Russian criminal tattoos and playing cards, United Kingdom, 2018.
Exquisite designs with characters and scenes from Russian folk tales by the artist Yury Shakov.
‘World of the New Russians’ (Mir novykh russkikh) satirical playing cards, 2002.
Collective Arts pack designed by sixty-three collaborating artists, illustrators and designers, Russ...
Emergency response playing cards published by the Kombinat Tsvetnoi Pechati (Colour Printing Combine...
Castle Rock Club playing cards featuring Russian rock stars and musicians, c. 2000.
‘Treasures of the Hermitage Museum’ souvenir playing cards (‘Shedevry Ermitazha’), Russia.
Three different packs of cards featuring traditional Chinese face painting and Chinese opera masks.
Festive courts on a Waddingtons pack designed to celebrate Christmas 1980.
A pack of playing cards about the Russian Revolution, USA, c. 2021.
An in-depth review of the history of card-playing, gambling, legislation, manufacture and taxation o...
The Russian Playing Card Monopoly was established in March 1798 with all revenue going to support th...
Spooky designs such as black cats, pumpkins, bats, spiders and ghosts for Halloween.
The Lord of the Rings Tarot Pack by Terry Donaldson and artist Peter Pracownik. Published 1997 by U....
Satirical Anti-Fascist cards designed in 1943 by Ivan Ivanovich Kharkevich.
Playing cards were known in Muscovy as early as the last quarter of the sixteenth century.
“Soldaty Udachi” (Soldiers of Fortune) Army and Police humour playing cards, Russia, 2001.
Karty lyubvi Slavyanskie (Slavonic love cards) and Karty lyubvi Starinnye (Ancient love cards).
Russkii Pel'mennyi Klub (Russian Dumpling Club) playing cards designed by Evgenia Alexandrovna Belya...
Kashmir playing cards designed by Lev Liberman and printed by Printissa, Saint Petersburg, 2005.