This set of playing cards (just an art project) with an East Indian twist was designed by the American artist, Lucy Aldrich. It’s a pity that court cards of different suits repeat each other.
© Lucy Aldrich 2013
A bird can represent a number of different ideas and concepts (conjugal happiness, heaven and infinity, etc.) in Indian culture. It’s hard to say what bird is depicted on the Joker. Peacock is one of symbols of India, actually. But it isn’t a peacock on the picture. Let’s assume that it is some parrot. Parrots are a sign of fertility
East Indian Playing Cards: Joker
Kings are represented by an elephant. The Indian elephant (Elephas maximus indicus) is one of three recognized subspecies of the Asian elephant and native to mainland Asia. It is part of Hindu ethos and culture. Huge and gray, an elephant resembled, in the opinion of Hindus, the dark clouds of refreshing and violent rain that fed and replenished the parched land. One of religious Indian names for an elephant was Abhranu or Abhramatanga, which translates as “the one who binds clouds”.
East Indian Playing Cards: Kings
Queens are represented by a tigress. The Royal Bengal Tiger is a sacred animal in India and its national symbol. Tiger is one of the vehicles of Durga, one of the main forms of the Goddess Shakti (personification of divine feminine creative power) in the Hindu pantheon.
East Indian Playing Cards: Queens
Jacks are represented by a monkey. Monkey is considered as the form of God Hanuman (Bajrang Bali), one of the most celebrated and worshipped figures in Indian religion. Many Indian temples are homes for thousands of monkeys.
East Indian Playing Cards: Jacks
Aces have quite simple big pips with rich background and unpretentious curls incorporated into them.
East Indian Playing Cards: Aces
There are a lot of different embellishments on the back of these cards. I guess this is an attempt to create some type of tribal Indian art.
East Indian Playing Cards: Back