Thursday, 3 January 2013

Kabu cards- "Mefuda" ( Nintendo)

Mefuda (目札 )-Nintendo, , 40c. + onifuda and blank
 We Now come to another species of japanese playing cards, known as the "Kabu"cards. These cards are basically single suited decks. That is, the deck comprises of one suit ( Usually coins or batons) repeated 4 times. There are usually 10 ranks in each suit, to give a deck of 40 cards.
 The particular deck shown here is known as the "mefuda", "( Eye-cards) , and gives a good introduction to this species of cards. The suit used here is the suit of coins, here corrupted to blobs of black paint., from 1 to 9. The tenth card is the Knave (or perhaps a cavalier in this case, as it has 4 legs), presenting the appearence of a few blobs of colour preched upon four legs  
 There are 3 identical series of these 9 cards. However, there is a fourth  series, in which some of the ranks are secorated with silver overprints. Usually the ace, trey (3) and the four of that suit recive that decoration. However, In decks like this one which use the suit of coins, the four in the special suit tends to be replaced, rather inexplicably, by a four of batons.
 Another curious ( and rather delightful) feature is the inscription on the duces (2s) treys (3s) and fours of each suit, along with the special ace. The inscription reads "用"- Use no gold or money"*, A rather splendid prohibition against gambling

1st row ( L-R)-- 6,7, 8,9,(knave) 
2nd row (L-R)-- (Ace), 2, 3, 4, 5
3rd row( L-R)--- Onifuda, Special ace, special 3,special 4

* Or, if you were to make a rhyme of it
"Gentle gamster, I pray that ye
use no gold or silver with me "

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