Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Round Playing Cards of Master PW

Queen of Columbines

Queen of Columbines



Five of Columbines

Five of Columbines



Ten of Columbines

Ten of Columbines



Valet of Parrots

Valet of Parrots



Nine of Parrots

Nine of Parrots



King of Parrots

King of Parrots



King of Hares

King of Hares



Knave of Hares

Knave of Hares



Valet of Hares

Valet of Hares



King of Roses

King of Roses



Queen of Roses

Queen of Roses



Ace of Roses

Ace of Roses



Three of Carnations

Three of Carnations



Valet of Carnations

Valet of Carnations



Ace of Carnations

Ace of Carnations


This engraved set of round playing cards was made by Monogrammist (Master) PW of Cologne in about 1500.
"The set is divided into five different groups (roses, columbines, carnations, parrots, hares) and each suite has ten numbers and four figures (king, queen, valet, knave)."
In addition to the base set of seventy cards, there were two further cards whose function is unknown. Just over half of the deck owned by the British Museum has survived and all their remaining cards have been posted online at the Prints Database (if that link doesn't work, search with 'Monogrammist PW' in the free text field on the advanced search page). {a few of the above images had some stains removed}

Trifoni have a horrible framed site but a wealth of early card history, including a complete copy of the Master PW series reproduced from a 1970s facsimile printing.

8 comments:

misteraitch said...

Very cool: this is the first deck like this I’ve seen. Apparently Swiss-German playing cards have a suit of roses (along with bells, acorns and shields), but there don't, alas, seem to be any modern decks with parrots, hares, columbines or carnations as suits.

Juke said...

Excellent find, Master PK.

Heather McDougal said...

My word, those are beautiful. I might have to go find the reprint and make up some card games.

Karla said...

Those are really fascinating. I love the idea of suits of things like parrots, hares, columbines, acorns, and whatnot.

nessie said...

Great job! THey are beautiful.

nursemyra said...

those cards are really gorgeous.

there's something phallic about the carnations though :-)

toby said...

A minor thought but with 72 cards you have a mighty fine tarot deck. It wouldn't be the first time one such deck has been disguised as a playing card deck. OTOH a 5 suit playing card deck would be make any older card game very interesting.

Maria said...

nice post

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