Portuguese Dragon Cards
This deck is a facsimile of a stencil coloured deck made around 1860. It was reproduced by/for the Fournier Museum in 2004, from the original deck which is in their collection.
Portuguese cards use the Latin suits of Coins, Cups, Swords and Clubs. The coat of arms of Portugal features a seprentine dragon which appears holding the pips on the aces of Portuguese playing cards (shown at bottom right of all suits). They are further characterised by having long straight interlaced swords in the pip cards of the Swords suit, and the same treatment for the Clubs.
Features shared between Portuguese and contemporary Spanish style cards are the reduction from 52 to 48 cards, through removal of the tens, and the name Sota for the lowest, and often female, court card, meaning “knave” or “servant” (without regard to gender).
The Portuguese were great travellers and traders. Early examples of these cards have been unearthed as far afield as The Netherlands and Peru, and their influence is seen in Japan, Java, Indonesia and Brazil.