Sunday, December 11, 2005

Baraja española.

Baraja española, the Spanish deck. Aren't they lovely? - fascinating, colourful designs; pretty to play with.

Spanish-style cards are 'Latin-suited': with suits named coins (oros), cups (copas), swords (espadas), and batons (bastos). These are the original suits, the suits found on the divinatory Tarot deck, and the suits found in the oldest surviving European decks.

The suits depict the most important classes in medieval times: merchants (coins), clergy (cups), nobility (swords) and peasants (clubs). Coins equal diamonds; cups, hearts; swords, spades; and batons, clubs.

They're normally sold as a 48-card pack, with numerals 1 to 9, and court cards labelled 10, 11 and 12; though many games use only 40 cards, omitting the 8 and 9. You can buy 52-card packs, though (+ jokers, see below).

Spanish-style cards are also used in many parts of Italy, northern Africa, parts of the west coast of France and in Latin America.

Some expressions which originate from card playing:
Cantar las cuarenta - to give someone a piece of one's mind
Barajar varias posibilidades - to toy with various possibilities
Tener un as en la manga - to have an ace up one's sleeve
Ser un as - to be an ace

Jose's Page on Games with the Spanish Pack (in English).
Heraclio Fournier's page of games, each as pdf (in Spanish).
Serena's Guide to Divination and Fortune Telling with Spanish Playing Cards (in English).

In software: 65 classical Spanish solitaires with the 'beautifully designed, award-winning, artistic' Fournier cards. (in English. Download free 21-day demo. $12.95 to buy.)

Some card tricks (in English).
A History of Playing Cards (in English).
The origins of the Tarot (in Spanish).

Something else to do with a few packs of cards.


Post a Comment

<< Home