Playing Card History

Miss Parker and her 7th period Art Class learned about the history of playing cards; and then they created their own.

Colter Peterson with the Playing Cards that he created.

By Colter Peterson

Miss Parker and her 7th period Art Class learned about the history of playing cards; and then they created their own. Let us look into this history. Playing Cards were believed to have been created in China over 200 years ago. The French army introduced playing cards to the English society. Red and black cards represent day and night, while the four suits are symbols of the four yearly seasons. The thirteen cards in a suit represent thirteen lunar months in a year.

The King of Hearts represents King Charlemagne, a medieval emperor who ruled much of Western Europe and became King of the Franks. King of Clubs represents Alexander the Great; he was the King of Macedonia who conquered most of the known world of his day. The King of Diamonds represents Julius Caesar, a Roman Politician and General. King of Spades represents King David of Israel, and the Jack of Clubs represents Sir Lancelot, a knight of King Arthur’s Round Table.

Cards in earlier times were mostly hand-painted which only the affluent class could afford. Earlier, a deck had one king and two marshals; the concept of the queen was added much later. Netherlands witnessed the usage of cards as a means to identify ones abandoned children in the 18th Century. During the Vietnam War, the American Generals used the ace cards to scare the Viet Cong away because the ace was a symbol of death and bad luck to them. In WWII, they made the cards so that when the soldiers pulled them apart it would be a map they could use to escape the enemy area. Who knew playing cards had such a history? The students in Art Class enjoyed their study of the history of cards, as well and the opportunity to create their own deck of cards.

      



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