This 54-card pack is undated and provides no evidence of the manufacturer.
So, what are “pel’meni”? They are meat dumplings, and are extremely popular in Russia. While their origin is debated (from Ural or Siberia) they have been described as "the heart of Russian cuisine”. This pack may be an advertisement for the Pelmeni Club Yekaterinburg, a restaurant which, according to their website, specialises “in the traditional Russian folk dish, and even spread, according to some reports, from the Urals, has got hundreds of fans”.
On the other hand, another meaning of this word is "Dude". It's slang and usually “it's being used for those dudes who don't deserve the bro's respect”. Whichever may be the case, this unusual pack was designed by Evgenia Alexandrovna Belyakova, (1980- ) who was born in Omsk and studied between 2001-2007 at the Repin State Academic Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, St. Petersburg. The aces portray plates, dishes or bowls of dumplings; the kings are the chefs; the queens are the well-to-do customers holding a dumpling, and the jacks are the waiters carrying the dishes to the tables. The pip cards have a centrally placed standard suit sign surrounded by the appropriate number of dumplings.
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.
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