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Ludophone 
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Pre-Topkapi cards


De Unger's fragment is the most well known of the pre-Topkapi cards but there are others that as far as I can tell have never been shown. During the 70s, Richard Ettinghausen and Michael Dummett identified some other cards that are extremely old. Dummett lists them in page 41 of Game of Tarot (1980). The first four are in de Unger's Keir collection.

1) Half of 4 of cups or a quarter of the 8 of cups. Ettinghausen gives it a broad estimate from the 1100s to the early Mamluks (mid-1200s). This is the one in Huck's post.

2) Ace of cups? Same dating as above. Published in Basil William Robinson's "Islamic Painting and the Arts of the Book" (1973). I can't find any image of it on the web.

3) Two of swords? Described in Robinson's book. No picture available.

4) Four of coins? Described in Robinson's book. No picture available.

5) Five or six of coins. Dummett identified it in the Benaki Museum in Athens. It was published in the "Art and Archaeology Research Papers" no. 4, Dec 1973. I can't find any picture of this on the web.

Silvia Mann said the dating of these cards are not unopposed. The Mamluks are also known to have imported Italian cards before they were conquered by the Ottomans in 1517.

Finally there are also the "Moorish" card sheets found by Simon Wintle in 1987. Made around 1400, they were likely produced by Christian Spaniards in imitation of Muslim cards. Only the pips survive but we know that this set contains 10s which are usually absent from Spanish decks. http://www.wopc.co.uk/spain/moorish/index

In regards to the Chinese Turfan card, I am very doubtful of its c. 1400 dating. Caldwell's blog explains it best: http://ludustriumphorum.blogspot.com...rfan-card.html

It would be nice if someone can snap a few pictures of these cards.
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Huck 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludophone View Post
De Unger's fragment is the most well known of the pre-Topkapi cards but there are others that as far as I can tell have never been shown. ...
Welcome to the Forum, it's nice to have a competent researcher here.

I don't have an answer to your questions, beside the point, that the Unger card seems to be presented here ...


http://www.manteia-online.dk/deckreviews/dr002.htm

Generally I would believe, that playing cards in the West arrived with the Mongols. The Mongols had conquered China, and China seems to have had already a longer tradition with playing cards, and the Mongols organized in quick steps a trading way to the West.
Mongols had contacts to the Mamluks, but not only to these.

Once I detected an older German text (1849) of a researcher F.L. Hübsch, who cared for early Bohemian trade. On the base of old texts (likely found in the council of the city of Prague) he expressed a few rather astonishing opinions.

1. Playing cards were in Prague in 1340.
2. Earlier it was played with cards by Polish nobility.
3. There were laws by the ruler Charles (later emperor Charles IV), which considered card playing as a game of skill in contrast to dice games (games luck). Games of skill weren't prohibited.
4. Cards were imported to Prague from Nuremberg.
5. In 1354 a card producer Jonathan Kraysel arrived from Nuremberg and produced cards then in Prague.

The researcher Hübsch gave no sources, playing cards were not his major theme. His report was republished (a longer time ago) ...
http://trionfi.com/0/p/95/
... but it received no reactions. In the IPSC journal I found a text by a Czechian researcher, who mentioned the Hübsch text in the year 2000, but he also didn't found a reaction (as far I could see it).

I had a longer escapade to find other earlier statements, which also claimed the existence of playing cards in Eastern European regions in a very early time (before 1370). I found a lot in German language (the new technology of books.google.com made it possible) and for most of these I didn't note a reference in playing card history texts (as far I do know them).
A good part of these are clearly wrong in their statement or at least doubtful.
I've gathered this material mainly at ...
http://forum.tarothistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1064

The most convincing of all this I would consider this one ...

Quote:
The following one came to us in 2010 from a Czech playing card researcher Jan Klobusicky by private communication, who found it here ...

Concilia pragensia 1353-1413, prager Synodal-Beschlüsse, zum ersten Male zusammengestellt und mit einer Einleitung versehen von C. Höfler...
Constantin Höfler
Druck der Gerzabek'schen Buchdruckerei, 1862 - 116 pages
https://books.google.de/books?id=v_-...rumque&f=false


...


That's 1353 in Prague, and for 1354 we've the statement of the researcher Hübsch ... "Auch ein Kartenmaler namens Jonathan Kraysel aus Nürnberg kommt 1354 in Prag vor." (Also a card painter with the name Jonathan Kraysel from Nuremberg appears 1354 in Prague.)
Together with the notes of the researcher Hübsch it looks true, alone for itself it's not good enough to prove anything.

*********

Well, the reading of this material demands some German language ... in the case, that you are interested.

Another theme, related to Trionfi cards: A person Christoph Frangipani ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christoph_Frankopan
https://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frange...n_Krist%C3%B3f
... with some involvement to Hungarian history has possibly some relation to Trionfi-cards produced in Italy around the year 1512. The person was descended from a marriage of his grand-father Stefan Frangipani to Isotta d'Este, a daughter of Niccolò III d'Este, Marquis of Ferrara.
By this he had some relationship to the Este family, which explains his involvement to Italian Trionfi card production. He was married to a sister of cardinal Gurk, who earlier had served as a court lady of Bianca Maria Sforza, wife of emperor Maximilian (Bianca Maria was very fond of playing cards).
The whole evolved to a tragical love story, as Frangipani became prisoner in Venice for a longer time. He escaped, but after the death of his wife. The story led to a picture for Christopherus + Apollonia (name of the wife of Christopher Frangipani) in a church.



Perhaps you're interested.



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Huck

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Last edited by Huck; 25-03-2017 at 03:44.
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Ludophone 
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Mounted Obers and Unters


In Dummett's Game of Tarot p. 22, he noted that Dr. Helmut Rosenfeld believed the earliest European cards had Obers and Unters mounted on horseback. It is very plausible since Johannes of Rheinfelden called them "marshals" (commanders of the cavalry). Dummett then went on to mention copper-engraved packs from the 15th-century as having mounted Obers and Unters. Unfortunately, he didn't name them of provide a footnote about these packs. Does anyone know which decks he was referring to or have images of them?
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kwaw 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludophone View Post
In Dummett's Game of Tarot p. 22, he noted that Dr. Helmut Rosenfeld believed the earliest European cards had Obers and Unters mounted on horseback. It is very plausible since Johannes of Rheinfelden called them "marshals" (commanders of the cavalry). Dummett then went on to mention copper-engraved packs from the 15th-century as having mounted Obers and Unters. Unfortunately, he didn't name them of provide a footnote about these packs. Does anyone know which decks he was referring to or have images of them?
All four courts are mounted in this deck (1440) -- well two unters are mounted, one is in the process of mounting and one is standing by his horse:

http://cards.old.no/1440-hofjagdspiel/



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Huck 
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An overview to 15th century German decks ... with notes to the structure of the decks.

http://trionfi.com/0/p/25/



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Ludophone 
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Thanks. I mistakenly assumed that there were decks where the kings are seated but the Obers and Unters are mounted.
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Huck 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludophone View Post
Thanks. I mistakenly assumed that there were decks where the kings are seated but the Obers and Unters are mounted.
In the Hofämterspiel kings and queens are seated, the Ober and Unter representatives "Hofmeister" and "Marschall" are mounted.



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Annush 
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Hofämterspiel


Such a beautiful deck that Hofämterspiel. There is nice gallery of it here



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Huck 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annush View Post
Such a beautiful deck that Hofämterspiel. There is nice gallery of it here
Yes, you're right. "Hofmeister" and Marschalls" have numbers, but they seem to be (together with Junckfrawe and Fools) also court cards as Kings and Queens (which have no number). All appear as 4 cards (in each suit, numbers 10, 9, 6 and 1). The suits are 4 kingdoms, France, German Empire, Bohemia and Hungary.
"Junckfrawe" were already used as "Maids" in the 60-cards deck of John of Rheinfelden (1377).



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Last edited by Huck; 11-09-2016 at 10:52.
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Annush 
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Thanks, Huck
That’s wery interesting. What is known about purposes/rules to play in Hofämterspiel ? Are there any assumptions?



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