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PROMOTION THROUGH PLAYING CARDS: A PREVIEW

From Egypt, received in Europe circa 1350 In the Mamluke culture of Egypt, the suit-signs became Coins, Cups, Swords and Polo sticks.   Each suit had ten numerical cards and three figure cards (Commander, Lieutenant Commander and Second Lieutenant).   This was the type of card deck received in Europe c. 1350.

Europeans were ignorant of Polo and thus altered the sticks to Batons or Clubs.   The court cards were still male: King, Knight, Knave.   The first European cards were painted, but block printing was soon used for mass production.


European Tarot

Italians, around 1425, invented the game of Tarot, for which they added a Queen to each suit.   In France, about 50 years later, the Knight was dropped from the standard deck; the suit signs were Diamonds, Hearts, Spades and Clubs.   Now, only, the court cards needed to be printed from blocks; the suit-signs were stenciled.   This gave French card makers an advantage over those of other nations, and the French designs became international.   They were exported to England.   When Britain established colonies, her usual playing cards naturally settled there.