Friday, May 08, 2015
The world's oldest set of cards is known as the Flemish Hunting Deck, the Hofjager Hunting Pack, or the Cloisters Pack and is held at the Metropolitan Museum's Cloisters location. The cards are made of pressed layers of paper decorated with stenciled and hand-drawn designs, and overlaid with silver and gold.
The completeness of the deck, the resemblance to modern card design, and the nearly pristine condition originally led to doubts about the cards' age but a detailed investigation has proven that they were made between 1475 and 1480 CE.
The theme of the Cloisters Deck seems to be falconry. The four suites consist of hunting horns, dog collars, hound tethers, and game nooses, which stand in for the modern day hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades.