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Queen (4), from the Cloisters set of fifty-two playing cards, ca. 1470–1485, South Netherlandish.

Queen (4), from the Cloisters set of fifty-two playing cards, ca. 1470–1485, South Netherlandish.

Playing Card; South Netherlandish, ca. 1470-80 - Two watermarks appear in the paper of these cards. One is in the form of a fork-tailed Gothic letter "p" surmounted by a quatrefoil and appears at least in part, on the 2 of Nooses, the 2 of Dog Collars and the queen of Horns. The other is a shield with the letters "iado" surmounted by a crozier which appears, at least in part, on the 1,5,8 and 10 of Dog Collars, the 1,2 and knave of Nooses and the 8 of Horns.

Playing Card; South Netherlandish, ca. 1470-80 - Two watermarks appear in the paper of these cards. One is in the form of a fork-tailed Gothic letter "p" surmounted by a quatrefoil and appears at least in part, on the 2 of Nooses, the 2 of Dog Collars and the queen of Horns. The other is a shield with the letters "iado" surmounted by a crozier which appears, at least in part, on the 1,5,8 and 10 of Dog Collars, the 1,2 and knave of Nooses and the 8 of Horns.

Queen (1), from the Cloisters set of fifty-two playing cards, ca. 1470–1485, South Netherlandish.

Queen (1), from the Cloisters set of fifty-two playing cards, ca. 1470–1485, South Netherlandish.

King (3), from the Cloisters set of fifty-two playing cards, ca. 1470–1485

King (3), from the Cloisters set of fifty-two playing cards, ca. 1470–1485

Set of Fifty-Two Playing Cards Date: ca. 1470–80 Culture: South Netherlandish [Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1983; METMuseum]

Set of Fifty-Two Playing Cards Date: ca. 1470–80 Culture: South Netherlandish [Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1983; METMuseum]

The Cloisters set of fifty-two playing cards constitutes the only known complete deck of illuminated ordinary playing cards (as opposed to tarot cards) from the fifteenth century. There are four suits, each consisting of a king, queen, knave, and ten pip cards. ca. 1475–80

The Cloisters set of fifty-two playing cards constitutes the only known complete deck of illuminated ordinary playing cards (as opposed to tarot cards) from the fifteenth century. There are four suits, each consisting of a king, queen, knave, and ten pip cards. ca. 1475–80

Queen (2), from the Cloisters set of fifty-two playing cards, ca. 1470–1485, South Netherlandish.

Queen (2), from the Cloisters set of fifty-two playing cards, ca. 1470–1485, South Netherlandish.

Playing cards arrived in Europe from Asia sometime in the 14th century, and by 1367 they had their first citywide ban in Bern, Switzerland.

Playing cards arrived in Europe from Asia sometime in the 14th century, and by 1367 they had their first citywide ban in Bern, Switzerland.

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