India, early eighteenth century
From the Lewis cabinet

Playing cards and card games from India, Iran some Arab countries are known as ganjifa. Introduced into India by the Mughals, a full set of such cards consists of eight or twelve suits. Each suit, which has its own characteristic design, has ten number cards and two court cards, the shah (king) and the wazir (minister). Many suits appear to have a symbolism relating to tarot cards. The game is a trick-taking game played with no trumps. It was popular with all social classes in India from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. This set of ganjifa is one of two, each in their original boxes, found in the Lewis cabinet; neither of them survive complete. They are not listed in his catalogue, so they may be later additions. This set, made of tortoiseshell and finely decorated, must have belonged to a wealthy patron.

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