Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
History of Playing Cards
Playing cards resembling the “standard” 52-card deck used in Europe, the Americas, and Asia have been in use since the beginning of the 15th century ce. The earliest known cards originated in China some time in the 1st millennium ce. Cards from Egypt dating back to near the start of the 2nd millennium ce. may provide the link to the first European and Indian cards, which have similar rank and suit characteristics. There is, however, no direct evidence linking these cards back to the early Chinese cards, which have a different rank and suit relationship. Because of their portability and flexibility, playing cards quickly became a versatile instrument of recreation, not only for gambling, but also for other forms of play, education, art, and even divination. Today many other forms of card decks exist, including special decks for collectable card games, but the 54-card “French Deck” (often called a Bridge ...