uuc of spades
December 27, 2008 3:56 PM   Subscribe

I think you're a few cards short of a deck there. Cool art. Would love to own a full deck.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:00 PM on December 27, 2008

I want. I want so bad.
posted by Kattullus at 4:10 PM on December 27, 2008

Cross cultural mash-ups are some of my favorite experiences. Mayan art on Soviet playing cards. That's a good one. These playing cards are wonderful. There is something particularly interesting about Russian art.

Pretty much everything on English Russia is amazing and makes me really want to visit that neck of the woods.
posted by nickyskye at 4:49 PM on December 27, 2008

From the comments:

"First faggotts!"

Is there a firewood shortage in the former Soviet Union?
posted by maxwelton at 5:33 PM on December 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

Interesting that the word "JOKER" is in english. Neat stuff!
posted by not_on_display at 5:44 PM on December 27, 2008

also on English Russia, Abandoned Mayan Statues in… St. Petersburg

maxwelton, I hadn't read the comments (don't usually) but you prompted me to look and this one was quite interesting:

Mayan culture was popular at one moment, because the party used the discoveries of a young linguist named Youri Knorosov, who was the first scientist able to translate some glyphs from the very cryptic Mayan writings.

The subliminal message of the Knorosov propaganda was that russians were able to crack and decypher any code used by the West.

So then I was intrigued. Who the hell is Yuri Valentinovich Knorozov and what was this whole "Knorosov propaganda" thing? Fascinating digression.

Just learned the comment section may contain treasures among the mud and it's worth looking.
posted by nickyskye at 5:53 PM on December 27, 2008 [3 favorites]

Very cool.
posted by eriko at 5:56 PM on December 27, 2008

nickyskye, just like ... ahem ... metafilter
posted by liza at 6:10 PM on December 27, 2008

Excellent post. The most tantalizing sentence I've seen on the front page in quite some time. And yes, a full deck of these, even a reproduction, would be quite a thing to have.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:10 PM on December 27, 2008

Ace of Spades: туз пики.
posted by nickyskye at 6:29 PM on December 27, 2008

Пиковый туз, actually.
posted by parudox at 7:09 PM on December 27, 2008

Or just туз пик. "Пиковый туз" takes too long to say when you're engrossed in a game of преферанс.
posted by nasreddin at 10:05 PM on December 27, 2008

Heh. That king of hearts is actually Lady Xoc, although the artist for the card tactfully omitted the bit where the barbed rope was being pulled through her tongue.
posted by ursus_comiter at 4:09 AM on December 28, 2008

Great post, and (as usual) great additional research by nickyskye. I hadn't known about Knorozov (the stress is on the first syllable, by the way: K-NAW-rǝ-zǝf). His bio gives reasons to think badly of both the Soviet Union, which never allowed him to visit the region whose writings he was deciphering, and post-Soviet Russia:

Knorozov died in St. Petersburg on March 31, 1999, of pneumonia in the corridors of a city hospital, just before he was due to receive the honorary Proskouriakoff Award from Harvard University.

One of Russia's most honored scientists died of pneumonia in the corridors of a city hospital. Think about what that says about the health care system. No wonder Russian life expectancy is eleven years shorter than the European Union average.

(The Proskuriakoff Award is named for Tatiana Proskouriakoff—if her family had stayed in Russia, she'd be known as Proskuriakova—who was quite impressive herself.)
posted by languagehat at 6:29 AM on December 28, 2008

I'm surprised these decks had (apparently) kings, queens, and jacks. Shouldn't they have been re-educated to become farmers, mechanics, and scientists?
posted by adamrice at 9:07 AM on December 28, 2008

Probably it was more appropriate to depict the Kings and Queens as depraved and bloodthirsty, lording and ladying it over the the rest of the pack. With the added goodness of the Highest Card being the humble and honest One, the erstwhile peasant raised to be the Ace.
posted by Rumple at 12:13 PM on December 28, 2008

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