Naypes de Toledo XVIc

Based on sheets marked from Toledo, Spain

Sota de bastos / knave of clubs

There are two uncut packs from the late XVIc in the Biblioteca Nacional de Espana, one with colored stencils, one only xylographs.  The colored and uncolored sheets are the same pattern, but different makers. This makes it much easier to see what is pattern and what is personal style, allowing me more information for my own design choices. Other sixteenth century Spanish pack fragments will be studied and incorporated as well.

Incomplete Toledo playing cards

Spain was a world superpower in the xvi century, and its influence was global. Reflections of Iberia’s power can be found in the cards of Spain and Portugal, as fragments of these cards have been found as far as Peru, Java, and Japan. Modern descendant card patterns still thrive, such as Sardinian cards and Neapolitan cards.

This is a “Latin suited” pack, having sticks, swords, cups and coins for pips. Like Italian and Portuguese systems, these have no queens, but a knight. Unlike the others, The king s not seated on a throne, but takes a stand as French kings do.

From the earliest pack found in Europe (Morisca), Spanish cards have been without tens. Like many cards systems, games that use Spanish suited cards use an edited pack. Other examples would include Piquet, Skat, Belote, etc. These games are played with edited packs for smooth gameplay, as tens or aces may slow pace. The tens may be different, as removing one set of numbers means easy printing of 48 cards on two sheets. Modern packs are “stripped” further, due to xvii century Ombre popularity.

Spain is the first European country to tax playing cards. In 1543 King Charles granted a monopoly (estanco) to a banker on the distribution of playing cards. Later l6th Century Two of swords cards often feature  “con licencia del rey N[uestro] S[eñor]”
Regional patterns up to the mid 17th c. include Catalonia, Madrid, Navarre, Toledo, Seville, Valencia.

For my own production, I want to use a palette similar to the colored sheets, which feature purple on the court cards. Yellow ochre and (synthetic) lead red for sure; purple, green, and grey-blue may need further research.

dementions: 90mm x 47mm (estimate)

Modern Sarde pattern


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