Ganjifa: 16th Century Traditional Playing Cards of India

Storytellers of Wonder

potli 1The Story of Ganjifa

In June 1527 Babar, founder of the Mughal dynasty, sent a unique gift to Shah Hasan, a close friend from Sindh. It was an exquisite set of Mughal Ganjifa round playing cards, each hand-painted on ivory and inlaid with precious stones. Little did he know that he was going to spark off an entire continent’s passion for playing cards! By the sixteenth century, Ganjifa cards became one of the most popular forms of entertainment for royals and commoners alike. As Ganjifa Cards gained popularity in the 16th century, the inevitable occurred. They somehow developed a distinctly Hindu flavour.

Dashavatar Ganjifa cards with each suit depicting each of the ten incarnations of Vishnu, became the rage. Brahmins began to believe that playing with these cards washed away one’s sins. If nothing else, it was a great way of reciting the names of Gods! So, it came to…

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This entry was posted on 25/03/2015 by in Uncategorized.
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