Friday, 8 March 2013

"Canasta special"- Modanio

"Canasta special"-Modanio-  54 x 3 cards

If you were to first see this deck of cards, without any introduction, one may be forgiven for thinking they were produced for a children's game- After all, how would you expect any serious game to be played with a deck which consists of pictures of fruit?
  However, it is not so. A serious game is indeed played with these cards, and it is Canasta. This becomes more apparent upon examining the deck's structure, and with a knowledge of how it is played.

 The subjects of a normal deck, have been replaced in this one with images of plants and animals. If one were to observe the indices of the deck. Firstly, the joker has an image of a copurnica ( D).  There are a pair of these cards, in each deck.

 Secondly, The 2s and aces are represented by a basket ( canasta in spanish) , and a pineapple.
( B, C) To reflect the black and red suits in a normal deck, Two of the cards have black frames, and two others have red ones.
  The red 3s of a normal deck(3, 3) now bear the image of a squirrel. The black 3s (3♣, 3♠,)  bear the image of a hound. There are only 2 of each card. ( A, J)
 The  4s, 5s, 6s and 7s have been replaced with images of berries. Like the pineapple and basket, their colour is reflected by that of their frame,  along with the colour of the fruit's stems and indices .
The 8s,  9s, 10s,  and the three court cards have been replaced with images of other kinds of fruit. Note the minature depictions of the fruit in the card's corner.

If you are somewhat confused, see

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Four colour cards- Hokkien

四色牌/ (Four colour cards), Anon - 112 c.

 Four colour cards, or Si sek pai as they are known in hokkien, are a form of playing card used in china and a great part of S/E asia. These cards are used to play a game much like rummy.

As the name of the deck implies, there are four suits, which are represented by the background colours of the cards. Each of the suits consists of seven subjects, taken from the ranks of a chinese chess ( Xiangqi) set.  The characters are written slightly differently for each side, and this difference is reflected in some decks, like this one. They are:

將 仕  相 車 馬 炮  卒 for Black,&
 帥 士  象 車 馬 炮 兵 for red. ~~
( General, valet, minister/ elephant , chariot, horse, and soldier)

Thus making a unit of 28 cards. Four units are united together to form a full deck of 112 cards.

  Now, the deck we have here is a smoewhat remarkable preservation- Such cards have been extinct in singapore for the past 30 or so years. This example is very old stock, which was somehow preserved in a chinese art supplier's back room,  from the properiteror's previous busisness as a game mearchant.

the red & yellow suits, and the back

As you can see, the cards are much shorter than the ones usually seen today. ( see ---) .
Also note the characters. Like the chess sets, they are written differently for each of the suits.
My grandaunt informs me that the sets are more or less identical to the cards of her youth, the only difference being that these cards are slightly shorter.

The green & white suits. The white suit appears pink due to the dye from the backs rubbing off on the paper

Another feature you may have spotted is the chinese charaters in the center of the card. I have yet to decipher their meaning, but they may be the company's name