Thursday, 7 January 2016

International pattern XII: Anon.

[International pattern], Anon. 52c+2
This anonymous deck of cards was purchased at an outlet of the renowned Japanese value goods store Daiso about 5 years ago. The cards are made of plastic.

The first thing that strikes one about these cards is the simplicity of the design. The cards are done in only 3 colours. This is not uncommon. However, unlike most cards, the courts are drastically simplified in design. 
In most decks of the international pattern, the dress of the courts is comprised of elaborate patterns. Here the draughtsman has removed most of the roundels and other such features, replacing them with simple cross-hatching. 
Here the cards are compared with a more standard deck. D stands for the anonymous deck, W stands for the Waddingtons deck.  The maker of the anonymous deck has adhered to the basic features of the pattern, despite simplifying it. The King of spades still holds a sword, and his Queen holds both a sceptre and a flower. 

But, some courts have been altered. The King of diamonds no longer holds an axe. Instead of a pair of spiked poles, the Jack of swords holds a sword. Perhaps this was the anonymous pack's draughtsman's attempt at "rationalizing" the pattern? 

Another feature of interest is the direction the court cards face. In the Waddingtons deck, all the court cards face to the left. In the Anonymous deck, some of the courts face to the right. This feature is present in the oldest cards of the international pattern, but not in today's cards. 
We wonder what caused the maker to so drastically simplify the courts. Perhaps it was a limitation of the printing process? When printing on plastic, it might be difficult to align the colours precisely. A simplified design would be to order.

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