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Published September 17, 2014 Updated April 26, 2022

East Slavonic Mythology

East Slavonic Mythology designed by Aleksey Orleansky (1994) featuring creatures from the watery underworld.

Russia Orleansky Myths & Legends Slavonic 1994

East Slavonic Mythology  designed by Aleksey Orleansky (1994)

featuring scary creatures from the watery underworld...

Above: the box lid from East-Slavonic Mythology playing cards.

Above: the 2 Jokers.

Above: Orleansky published a pack of postcards with images of the second edition and the sketches. The backs of postcards have an explanation of each image (in Russian).

The creatures in the deck, subtitled “the Evil Force”, are derived from popular Slavonic mythology, kept alive from pagan times as an integral part of the national culture, and which exist in Russian folktales and other literature. Besides children enjoying these wonderful stories before bedtime, these stories have also been valued by adults for the many great lessons that they teach. Aleksey Orleansky has depicted a menagerie of ghosts, water nymphs, spirits, demons and other malevolent beings which crawl out of the water in the middle of the night to entice, torture or suck people into the swamps. However, they also appear to spend a lot of time just chilling, smoking pipes or loitering at the water’s surface. The numeral cards (see below) show wild animals, insects, birds and other creatures.

All images courtesy Valentin Krasavin.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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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.


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