Chinese Marked Playing Cards

Traditionally, Western playing cards consist of rectangular layers of paper or thin cardboard pasted together to form a flat, semi-rigid material. One side, the face, bears a pattern common to all, while the other side, known as the back, is blank or printed with a design specific to each individual card. The corners are usually rounded to prevent fraying.

Playing card manufacturing companies like the United States Playing Card Company in America, ASS Altenburger of Germany, Cartamundi of Belgium, Fournier of France or Modiano of Austria produce high quality decks of playing cards for the world market. There are also many modern playing card manufacturers based in China that export their products world wide. They manufacture both cardboard and 100% plastic playing cards.

Many cards are marked with special symbols that indicate their value. These are often used for gambling purposes to help players make informed decisions. These markings are made with special inks or pigments. Generally, these cards are printed in large quantities and are cheap to produce. They are sometimes marked with symbols and numbers that indicate their rank. Some cards are printed with special colours such as red or black that are used to represent certain values.

A number of different varieties of Chinese playing cards exist, and the precise origins are unclear. Some experts believe that they were invented in China and introduced to Europe by a Venetian traveller, possibly the famous Marco Polo, who visited China in 1269.

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