Tuesday, May 26, 2009
History of Playing Cards
The earliest authentic references to playing-cards in Europe date from 1377, but, despite their long history, it is only in recent decades that clues about their origins have begun to be understood. Cards must have been invented in China, where paper was invented. Even today some of the packs used in China have suits of coins and strings of coins - which Mah Jong players know as circles and bamboos (i.e. sticks). Cards entered Europe from the Islamic empire, where cups and swords were added as suit-symbols, as well as (non-figurative) court cards. It was in Europe that these were replaced by representations of courtly human beings: kings and their attendants - knights (on horseback) and foot-servants. To this day, packs of Italian playing-cards do not have queens - nor do packs in Spain, Germany and Switzerland (among others). There is evidence that Islamic cards also entered Spain, but it now seems likely that the modern cards which we call Spanish originated in France, ousting the early Arab-influenced designs. -International Playing-Card Society
this entire deck (along with many many more) can be viewed at Peter Endebrock's Playing-card Pages [link]
more playing cards at Yale's Cary Collection of Playing Cards online database [link]
more information on the history of playing cards at the International Playing-Card Society [link]
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Eight constellations (from the top): Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius (a large figure drawing water from a well), Pisces, Cetus (a harpy with a peacock's tail), Orion (a standing turbaned male with sword and shepherd's staff), and the constellation Eridanus (the River).
Creatures from the Island of Zanj (jazirah-i Zanj), including gray and green winged humanoids.
Five mythical sea creatures, including a human-headed fish and a winged fish.
Above: a woman with long hair behind a large gray fish. Below: a monkey (labeled insan al-ma', 'aquatic being') and a pink fish.
Six animal-headed demons or jinn, all (except the blue elephant-headed demons) snapping their fingers.
Fabulous beasts and demons: two horned demons playing musical instruments; a feline, horned quadruped with two heads; a brown demon with a cat's head and tail, wearing wrist beads (noise-makers); and an elephant with rear claw feet. On a page labeled 'people of the Seal of Solomon (muhr-i Sulayman)'.
A humanoid with hair standing on end.
A lynx or caracal (‘anaq) and an elephant-headed demon.
A cock and (above) a partridge (darraj).
A simurgh (‘anqa', a mythical bird) and, above, a bird that appears to be a hoopoe but is labeled 'aq'aq (magpie).
An ostrich (na‘amat) and a small black bird labeled hudhud (the hoopoe).
A dragon (thu‘ban).
Five fabulous creatures: a dark-skinned female wearing only a head-scarf and pearls; two winged figure, nude except for pearls; a bare-breasted, long-haired female with six legs and wrist beads (noise-makers); and, at the bottom, a human-headed snake.
Four mythical creatures: a humanoid with his head in his chest, a human-headed turtle, and two half-sectioned women.
More illustrations at the Islamic Medical Manuscripts @ the National Library of Medicine [link]
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Not the "World Series" as it is today - this series was between the American Association and Championship League Club, before these professional leagues fell and the modern World Series of American League vs. National League began in 1903. (I can't find much information on this series or the "Championship League Club", if anyone has more/more accurate information please let me know.)
In 1894, Pittsburgh's owner William C. Temple offered a championship trophy to the winner of a best-of-seven-game series between the National League's first and second-place teams. In addition, he stated that the winning franchise would receive 65% of all ticket sales and the losing team would pocket 35%. Temple's novel idea would last for the next three years and helped to build the foundation for baseball's post-season popularity. More changes were on the horizon and in 1901, the American League was established much to the dismay of the senior circuit. Suddenly, baseball found itself engaged in a "civil war" as both rival leagues competed separately for the fan's loyalty and attention. Two years later a truce, previously known as the "National Agreement", was redefined outlining baseball's employment, salary and travel requirements. The 1903 compromise produced the business blueprint for major-league baseball and resulted in a merger that has lasted to this day. Once again Boston and Pittsburgh, the top American and National League teams, found themselves competing against one another in the first official "World Series". -Baseball Almanac1903 World Series - Boston Americans (5) vs. Pittsburg* Pirates (3)
*In 1903, Pittsburgh was spelled Pittsburg without the ending h.
1905 World Series - New York Giants (4) vs. Philadelphia Athletics (1)
1911 World Series - New York Giants (2) vs. Philadelphia Athletics (4)
1913 World Series - New York Giants (1) vs. Philadelphia Athletics (4)
1914 World Series - Boston Braves (4) vs. Philadelphia Athletics (0)
1919 World Series - Cincinnati Reds (5) vs. Chicago White Sox (3)
1920 World Series - Brooklyn Dodgers [Robins] (2) vs. Cleveland Indians (5)
1927 World Series - New York Yankees (4) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (0)
1931 World Series - Philadelphia Athletics (3) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (4)
1933 World Series - New York Giants (4) vs. Washington Nationals [Senators] (1)
1934 World Series - St. Louis Cardinals (4) vs. Detroit Tigers (3), Game 7
1942 World Series - St. Louis Cardinals (4) vs. New York Yankees (1), Game 5
1952 World Series - New York Yankees (4) vs. Brooklyn Dodgers (3)
1956 World Series - Brooklyn Dodgers (3) vs. New York Yankees (4), Game 5
1962 World Series - San Francisco Giants (3) vs. New York Yankees (4)
World Series programs and scorecards from the Baseball Hall of Fame [link]
More programs and info at Sports Collectibles [link]
More info at FC Associates [link]
Even more info at Collectors Weekly [link]