hist-games: Pictures of period Cards

Christian Joachim Hartmann lukian at Null.net
Mon Nov 23 09:56:28 PST 1998

At 16:31 21.11.98 +1000, Maynard, Steven wrote:
>Hi All,
>	Can anyone direct me to a site on the web where I can find pictures
>of period playing cards (please not tarot cards)

Why no Tarot decks? If you disregard the Trumps (Tarots) plus the four
Queens, you will be left with a nice Italian suited straight standard
deck of normal usual playing cards! ;-)

Here are some links, sorted by suit-systems:


<http://www.kyu-teikyo.ac.jp/cartax/tensho.jpg> A Japanese sheet, produced
along a Portugese model.
This is my hottest link, 'cos no other pic looks as 'period' as this sheet!

A pip card from an Aluette deck <http://www.vendee.com/french/savoir/luette.htm>, a Spanish suited deck from western France, in quite a fancy version.

Actually, this is also a Tarot variation, but since ta pip
card is displayed, they form a good example of Central Italian
cards up to the 18th century.

A page exhibiting a nice uncut sheet of an Italian deck. The
deck as such is 20th century, but the pattern of the cards
is much older.


Two nice links from this page
<http://www.chem.eng.usyd.edu.au/staff/cory/DCRBkarn.htm>, showing
an German suited sheet <http://www.chem.eng.usyd.edu.au/staff/cory/fig2.jpg>
and a Swiss suited one <http://www.chem.eng.usyd.edu.au/staff/cory/fig1.jpg>.
These are quite hot links, too, since these sheets are definitely period!


One card from an French regional portrait, probably 18th c.

a yet older card of a regional French deck, this time from Rouen.
Taken from this page <http://renaissance.dm.net/compendium/5.html>
[Have you noticed the date at the bottom?]

The English Playing Card Society exhibits a number of English made
decks at their site: <http://www.epcs.mcmail.com/oldcards.html>
The advantage about this page is that all the information here
is historically correct (as opposed to the sloppines of other sites).
This would be a good place to ask further questions.

On older Swedish cards. Not as old as the above, but
fairly typical for the usual kind of double headed playing
cards of the 18th century.

Yet more cards of this type are shown at Peter Endebrocks site:
The great advantage is that WHOLE decks are shown.
I like this <http://sun1.rrzn.uni-hannover.de/~zzzzende/karten6.html>
one best.

TAROTS: (yes, why not, if there genuine old!)

One card from one of the very first complete _printed_ deck extant:
The Paris Tarot.

One card from a hand painted tarot, made in Italy, but known as
the "Tarot of Charles V"

A card from a "Piemontese Tarot", old version, which wasn't
yet double-headed. Modern Pietmontese Tarot is double-headed:

And finally a 'classic' fortune-telling tarot page:
The images available through the index at the bottom are those
of the "Tarot de Marseille", that is at least 18th c. if not 17th.
E.g. a page like <http://www.zen-it.com/4sette.htm> shows the
North Italian suit system quite neatly, and in itself is period.


The Intrnl Playing Card Society has some nice pics on their
'History of Playing Cards' page, including some early English
cards that you can also see at the site of the English PCS
and two of the famed Islamic cards, old Minchiate cards and
three cards from a French Tarot deck about contemporary
with the above "Paris Tarot".
Please note the "Nürnberger pack". These cards are quite recent,
but the pattern of these cards dates back to the 16th c.!
The same is true with the two Swiss cards right next to it.

The Playing Card Museum in Vitoria. The two Tarot cards and
the two Swiss ones are "period-identical".

That's all I can think of right now! Those who want more images
of period cards are requested to mail.


Please note that not all of these cards are strictly 'period', but
with objects as easily perishing as playing cards you have to
allow for some margin. And since playing cards are indeed popular
imagery, the look of these cards hasn't changed much over time!


**       Christian Joachim Hartmann 
**       lukian at Null.net
**       christian.hartmann at uni-duesseldorf.de

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