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History of Playing Cards

History of Playing Cards
Cards age is much younger than the bones and their origin directly obliged to last. The history of playing cards is rooted in the distant past. First in the dark began to use different kinds of images (numbers, figures, symbols) deposited on the bone, wood or metal plate. In Herodotus, there is mention of playing cards existed in Media in VII. BC. e. Unfortunately, this is limited to a reference to information on these ancient artefacts. Therefore, the question of whether, when the history of playing cards is still open.

Versions of occurrence

According to different versions of historians, playing cards are its history from around the world and different periods. Below are the different versions.

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Deck
Part ancient historians believe that the origins of playing cards to be found in ancient Egypt XII-XIII centuries. BC. e. A reservation that although some of the Egyptologists supports this version is little evidence it has. It is based on the ancient myth of the secret temple of the Egyptian God of wisdom Thoth. For millennia, the servants of God were the annals of all significant events that occurred in the country. And the most important information that reflects the physical and mystical laws of life was encoded in the form of seventy-eight figurative paintings deposited on the walls of the temple. Knowledge has been divided into four parts according to the number of elements - water, fire, earth and air. Besides, there were miniature copies in rectangular gold plates that were used in rituals to predict the future. Some scientists precisely these precious plates start counting the history of playing cards. It is assumed that fifty-six of them ("Minor Arcana") served as the prototype of the modern maps, and twenty-two ("Major Arcana"), later transformed into the mysterious tarot cards.

Far East

Photo of Cards from Europe
Another version history of the origin of playing cards leads us to the Far East. About one and a half thousand years ago in Korea during the magic rituals associated with the prediction of the future, the first images were used, which, as is commonly believed, served as the prototype of the modern playing cards. They were made of oil-soaked paper and silk and called Htou - Tien, or "fighting boom." In VII-VIII century, these cards moved to China together with the ritual where they've changed the appearance.

Served as the basis for their design of Chinese banknotes, had circulated in the "Celestial Empire" so sometimes they are called "money". Deck of fifty-two cards - the number of weeks in a year and had four suits, symbolising seasons. Use these cards for the game, and during the mystic rites of divination and foretelling the future. According to the dictionary, ChingTsze Tung referenced Brockhaus and Efron, cards invented in China in 1120, and the mass distribution they received only after 12 years. That is the most popular version of the history of the origin playing cards.


Around the XVI century maps appear in India. Games Deck 96 cards numbered round shape and consisted of eight stripes twelve cards in each suit. Ten cards are digitally abbreviation of 1 to 10, and two pictures, more often, with the image of the God Shiva, holding in the hands of four symbols correspond to the four Indian estates cup, a sword and a sceptre coin. Perhaps in the future, they were the prototype card suits. Rules of the game had nothing to do with modern and more like chess. These cards were made by hand and, as a real work of art, were very expensive and were extremely rare.

Playing cards: European period

History of Deck
Nowadays, it is difficult to establish how and when the cards were in Europe. Presumably, they were brought to the Arab merchants, but for a long time, Muslims rejected this version, since the Koran prohibits gambling. Now well established that the followers of Islam not only enjoyed playing cards but also created its deck, in which geometric designs replaced images of people. The first mention of playing cards in Europe refers to the end of the XIV century. First Europeans played in the Arab game, "Naib", then in Italy was invented by the first European card game - Taroko.

XV century

Playing Cards
At the beginning playing cards were a luxury item, in Europe, they had only tribal aristocracy involved for creating unique decks of famous artists. Unique skills have reached the Italian masters; the vertices of their work could not reach the other gamblers - the Spaniards.

In the XV century playing cards were so widely popular in the Iberian Peninsula, the sailors of Columbus, barely breaking the Atlantic Ocean and landed on shore, immediately make ourselves a deck built of palm leaves. A new period in the history of playing cards came with the development of printing in the XV century. First full-fledged deck of playing cards appeared in Germany in 1440. Its creator was a pioneer Johannes Gutenberg. Woodcuts printed these cards, were cheap to produce and gradually replaced the work of Italian artists.

XVI-XVII centuries

Deck the modern type XVI-XVII centuries fold basic types of playing decks: Italian, French and German. They differ in the number of cards and the image colours, which, however, was still in all four countries. National decks still exist and are used in some countries for traditional games.

Production of cards

Cards in Russia
Manufacture of playing cards brought such a high income, which during the reign of Alexander I, the government decided not to give up this business at the mercy of private companies and introduce a state monopoly on the production of the card at the same time a total ban their import. It should be emphasised that all profits are spent on maintenance of shelters and orphans. Then the term "Satin deck" came, which initially meant a way of handling paper.

Low-grade porous paper rubbed talcum powder in special machines and acquired a usual silky and smooth. These maps were more expensive printed on newsprint, but it is so superior to their quality, which replaced the cheaper options. In the middle of the XIX century was designed by the standard and familiar to us from childhood design domestic cards, its author was a Russian painter of French origin Adolph Charlemagne. Surprisingly, for a half-century design cards in Russia have not changed! Indeed, "Satin Deck" can be called the Russian National deck. "Russian deck" is sometimes called a deck of 36 cards, which is so convenient to play "fool". The only thing that has changed with the advent of the Soviet regime is that a jack of hearts and the ace of diamonds lost germanium Russian Empire. And of course, today's card does not rub talc and cover with plastic.

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Written by Vladislav Dibrov
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