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Hunting Cards

Hunting animals had been an essential part of the human lifestyle since medieval ages. Hunting was initially vital to man’s existence. However, later it was merely for sport and entertainment. During the pre historic times, hunting animals was the only way men acquired food, clothes, tools and even medicines at times.

In the middle ages, animal hide was used often for making parchment for writing and in some cases even the playing cards were made from animal hide. It isn’t so surprising then that several earliest playing cards often depicted various hunting scenes from those times.

Some of the earliest playing cards often used scenes from everyday life as inspiration for making playing cards. Cards from those times had several elements taken from nature like flowers, natural scenes and animals as well as from everyday life like common people, Royal figures in elaborate costumes and weapons.

Hunting in playing cards

Hunting scenes also became popular since hunting was considered quite fashionable at those times. It is believed that these hunting cards were first made in the 15th century. The Ambraser Hofjagsdpiel, or the Ambras court hunt deck was one of the earliest hunting card decks. This deck had various groups of patterns, most of which were based on hunting. The decks first came to use in Germany in the beginning of the 15th century. These decks were quite similar to the Moorish decks in terms of composition, but they had no trumps. Also, their suits were quite unique and different than any of the other playing cards that were used at those times.

These hunting cards were beautifully designed and often handmade. These playing cards often depicted elaborate scenes of hunting by Royal families. The signs of the suits were often animals or the objects that were commonly used in hunting like hounds, nooses, falcons and deer. Many of these decks were known to have more than four suits; the fifth one would normally be shields.

Where you can find hunting cards

Very few of these decks still exist. Many scholars believe that the hunting decks would have been first made after the tarot cards were introduced. A 16th century deck from France which was known as Tarot of Cetelin Geofroy, which is now only partially extant was one such deck. The deck had twenty two different unusual trumps. The four suits in the deck were monkeys, parrots, lions and pheasants. The suits were quite similar to the symbols and the patterns that were then used commonly in the German cards. These cards were the perfect combination of hunting cards and tarot.

Except for hunting scenes, several card decks were later introduced that depicted scenes from the Spanish and Mexican bull fighting. Waddington’s had also introduced decks in their sporting series, which depicted various different sports that included polo and other sports that included animals in their designs.

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