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MEMOIR (Playing cards)


Playing cards have been around for more than a thousand years. Starting in China and spread around the world through trade and warfare. The Playing cards were changed according to the culture they were in and most of the variations from different countries had different symbols, shapes, and sizes. Germans added acorns as a symbol to signify their culture. France added a queen because they were courteous people. The most common French-suited deck has people from history on face cards. These people cover a whole timeline of European history. The history

of Europe is preserved in a deck of cards. Sub-continent has very rich history that

can be covered as well and considering the French deck covers 4 major religion of Europe, Sub-continent has had a lot of notable religions as well. Krishna to Ranjit Singh there is a wide timeline that can be covered with figures that have accomplished feats on par with European figures in cards.


For this project a qualitative method was used for research. The most reliable source for Playing cards were collectors and societies dedicated to games and playing cards specifically such as the international playing card society, Gejus Van Diggele, playing card factory and more. The data collected is secondary and descriptive data taken from trustworthy sources, revealing all purposes the cards were used by Gejus Van’s collection of old cards. To determine who was on the cards is done by reading the hints on older illustrations on cards, in history of playing cards and a bibliography of cards and gaming. Some conflicts regarding the people on the cards are yet to be answered but for this project selecting the 3 figures from the 4 religions approach was found to be more systematic in contrast to a random number of people from different religions.


We were the first civilization that did not originate by martial might but by trading. Modern day French deck of cards tell us about their history dating back to David we have just as much history to tell. From Krishna to Akbar we have a very rich history and very interesting figures. The history is documented through this game, which is still being played all over the world. Considering the level of engagement this provides and the longevity of this game, this project is an ode to the magnificent history of subcontinent, preserving it and disseminating through specially curated design of playing card. The deck has a common version which is more economical than the more sophisticated collector’s version. These cards glorifies and celebrates the important figures from the area of subcontinent, also highlighting the cultural diversity in older times.