Kickstarter: Icons Playing Cards [The Imperial Edition] by Lotrek

05 Feb

New pack of playing cards from Lotrek (The Halfmoon Playing Cards). The designer of Timeless and Bicycle Butterflies Playing Cards, the creator and producer of Grotesque, Bicycle Venexiana, Venexiana Gold and Venexiana Dark decks decided to pay his attention to a different artistic style that flourished in Europe or influenced European Art. The deck inspired by the incredible splendor of the Byzantine Empire (c.330 A.D – 1453 A.D) and its heritage. Traditional courts will remain their traditional shticks, but will be translated into the Byzantine art style. This deck is one of three decks in the series. It is the most luxurious one: a) amazing custom art; b) its tuck case will be velvet, and you will find hot stamped gold foil inside it; c) all card backs will have both Gold and Silver hot stamped foil on them.

The deck will be printed by Lotrek in Greece.


The Imperial Edition tuck case won’t have cellophane, no seal – only a sleeve from a luxurious material. Plus, this time Lotrek will offer a couple of display cards.

This is Lotrek’s “Treasure” series of playing cards. There will be three editions of these decks: The Secular Edition (Standard), The Sacred Edition (Limited) and The Imperial Edition (Luxurious). The first two editions will be separately launched later in 2015.

Lotrek tries something new with this series of playing cards. All production steps (design, printing, cutting and packaging) will be executed or supervised by him personally. A DVD with this process will be one of free presents for his backers 🙂

Icons Playing Cards – The Imperial Edition: Tuck Case


The deck:

  • 54 absolutely custom playing cards (faces, pips, indices);
  • all playing card faces will have metallic gold accents (metallic ink);
  • custom backs with Gold and Silver hot stamped foil on a purple background;
  • a custom velvet tuck case with embossing and gold foil accents inside and outside it;
  • each deck hand numbered and signed on the bottom of the tuck;
  • very smooth edge cutting;
  • Poker size;
  • the highest quality paper available from EPCC;
  • only 555 decks will be ever produced and 500 will be available on Kickstarter;
  • planned to be printed personally by Lotrek in Greece.


You could pledge here:

[FUNDED – February 20th, 2015]

“Icons” (from the Greek word “εικών” which means “image”) were paintings or mosaics depicting the saints of Orthodox Church, as a rule, Jesus, Mary, saints and angels. But there was a continuing opposition to images and their misuse within Christianity from very early times. And Byzantine Imperial authority had controversial attitude to use of icons in the 8 and 9th centuries.

Icons Playing Cards – The Imperial Edition: The Jack of Spades


Periods in the history of the Byzantine Empire when the use of icons was opposed by religious and Byzantine imperial authorities (within the Eastern Church and the temporal imperial hierarchy) were named Byzantine Iconoclasm (Greek: Εἰκονομαχία). Iconoclasm translates from Greek as “image-breaking”. There were two such periods. The goal of the iconoclasts (people who support iconoclasm) was to restore the church to the strict opposition to images in worship that they believed characterized at the least some parts of the early church. They believed that icons could not represent both the divine and the human natures of the Messiah at the same time.

The first one lasted between about 726 and 787. It began when images were banned by Emperor Leo III the Isaurian (also known as the Syrian, the Byzantine Emperor from 717 until his death in 741). It was accompanied by widespread destruction of images and persecution of supporters of the veneration of images. Then passions ebbed.

The second one was between 814 and 842. Iconoclasm was restored by Leo V (also known as the Armenian, the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 813 to 820) with a new force in 815. It was possibly motivated by military failures seen as indicators of divine displeasure.

Icons Playing Cards – The Imperial Edition: The King of Clubs


Finally icon veneration was decisively restored by Empress Regent Theodora (the Byzantine Empress in 842 to 855). It was despite the fact that her husband, the Byzantine Emperor Theophilus, was an iconoclast. For this, she was venerated as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church (her Feast Day is February 11). Is she the Queen of Hearts? 🙂

From then on all Byzantine coins had a religious image or symbol on the reverse (usually an image of Christ). I guess Lotrek inter alia decided to underline this moment with gold metallic ink on all faces of playing cards.

Icons Playing Cards – The Imperial Edition: The Queen of Hearts


Also colour plays an important role for icons. Gold represents the radiance of Heaven. Red is the colour of divine life. Blue represents human life. White is the Uncreated Light of God. Look at icons of Jesus and Mary, you will see that Jesus wears red undergarment with a blue outer garment (God become Human) and Mary wears a blue undergarment with a red outer garment (human was granted gifts by God). Icons convey the doctrine of deification in this way.

Lotrek lets himself some additional freedom with colours as he doesn’t design icons. But he stays very close to canonical rules and colours. Look at men and women in this deck. What do you think about their clothes? 🙂 And you should know that Dark Cyan and Turquoise colours in the pictures of the queens and the King of Clubs belong to the blue spectrum. Dark Slate Blue colour in the picture of the King of Spades belongs to the family of purple colour which, in turn, is a range of hues of colour occurring between red and blue.

Icons Playing Cards – The Imperial Edition: The King of Spades


Letters in icons are symbols too. Most icons incorporate some calligraphic text naming the person in a stylized manner.


Byzantine icon (mosaics) – Medieval Istanbul

Icons Playing Cards – The Imperial Edition: The Queen of Diamonds


Peacocks are incorporated into the Ace of Spades as decorative elements. This decorative motif was very popular for the Byzantine era. It was borrowed from pagan iconography (a symbol of immortality) by Early Christians. Then it was transformed into widespread symbol of the Byzantine era. A peacock drinking from a vase is used as a symbol of a Christian believer drinking from the waters of eternal life. In Christian iconography the peacock is often depicted next to the Tree of Life. You can find all these meanings in the Ace of Spades.

Icons Playing Cards – The Imperial Edition: The Ace of Spades


The Ace of Diamonds is inspired by decorations in Byzantine manuscripts. The Byzantine text-type has by far the largest number of surviving manuscripts. All other aces (with the exception of the Ace of Spades) will remain this approach. To reflect better authenticity they will be surrounded by a frame in gold metallic ink, just like texts in old Byzantine books.

Icons Playing Cards – The Imperial Edition: The Ace of Diamonds


Byzantine manuscript


The back design is inspired by Byzantine mosaics. It features the two-headed eagle which was the Imperial symbol. This symbol has different variations. Quite a lot of them have the other type of crown above eagles. But Lotrek decided to choose this one.

Icons Playing Cards – The Imperial Edition: Back Design




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Posted by on 05.02.2015 in Kickstarter


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