GANJIFA CARDS - PERSONAL COLLECTION OF SHRI KISHOR N GORDHANDAS

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ABOUT GANJIFA CARDS

 

Among the popular Pastimes of Ancient India, the game of Cards (Ganjifa) found as much favour with Kings, Courtiers and general masses as the Pachisi (Dice) and Chess. While the popularity of Chess continues unabated to this day, the Ganjifa Cards and their games have passed into oblivion. We do not know whether the card games were played for amusement or speculation, but the Indian Ganjifa Cards were and are extremely colourful and painted in such a wide variety that one tends to hold one’s breath. Read More...

GANJIFA CARDS COLLECTION
 

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S.N

Place

Theme

Artist

Number of cards /suit/shape/ Material used/ Size/additional information

Year of the set

1

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Dashavatara

Banamali Mahapatra

288 /24 / round / card/ 10.2 cms. dia

2007

2

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Dashavatara

Banamali Mahapatra

240 / 20 / round / patta / 7.5 cms. Dia.

1995 

3

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Dashavatara

Banamali Mahapatra

192 / 16 / rectangle / card / 9.9cms. x 6.75cms

1988 

4

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Dashavatara

Banamali Mahapatra

144 / 12 / round / card/ 8.75 cms. dia. / With LakshmiDevi on all pradhan cards. Darachitri

1995

5

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Dashavatara

Banamali Mahapatra

120/10/round /card/ 8.2 cms. dia.

All rajas on elephants, pradhans on horses-

Facsimile from a set in British Museum, London.

 2002

6

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Dashavatara

Banamali Mahapatra

120/10/ round / patta / 7.5 cms. dia.

 1996

7

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Dashavatara

Banamali Mahapatra

144/12/oval / patta/ 6.75 x 9.0 cms / bird version

1996

8

Chikiti, Orissa

Dashavatara

Appana Mahapatro

120/10/round / patta / 8.00 cms. dia / bird version -

LakshmiDevi with Vishnu in reclining posture.

 1993

9.

Chikiti, Orissa

Dashavatara

Appana Mahapatro

192/16/round / card / 8.2 cms. dia / Vishnu below parasol.

1993 

10

Chikiti, Orissa

Dashavatara

Appana Mahapatro

120/10/round / patta / 8.2 cms. dia. /Bird version-

Vishnu with Sheshnag / Vishnu with Laxmidevi on raja cards

 1993

11

Chikiti, Orissa

Dashavatara

Appana Mahapatro

120/10/round / card / 8.75 cms. dia./ bird version

1993 

12

Parlakhemundi

Dashavatara

Prakashchandra Mahapatra

192/16/round / patta / 8.2 cms. dia.

1993

 

13

Puri

Dashavatara

Not known

144/12/ (Less 2 cards) /round / card /9.0 cms. dia./ excellent / (total 142 cards-missing cards are of raja and pradhan of Kartikeya suit)

 1998

14

Puri

Dashavatara

Not known

144/12/rectangular/ palm leaf / 7.7cms. x 3.8cms / needle-carved

1986 

15

Berhampur, Orissa

Dashavatara

Sitakanta Mahapatra

120/10/small-round / patta / 6.6cms. dia.

 1988

16

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Navagunjara (Ath-Rangi) Nine Limbed animal as Vishnu on raja cards

Banamali Mahapatra

96/8/round / patta / 8.75 cms. dia

 1997

17

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Navagunjara (Ath-Rangi) bird version

Banamali Mahapatra

96/8/large-round / patta / 8.75 cms. dia

 1997

18

Puri, Orissa

Navagunjara (Ath-Rangi)

Not known

96/8/rectangular / card / 9.2cms. x 5.5cms.

1987 

19

Puri, Orissa

Navagunjara (Ath-Rangi)

Not known

96/8/rectangular / sandalwood / 7.7cms. x 4.2cms./ painted on sandalwood

1988 

20

Puri, Orissa

Moghul ganjifa

Not known

96/8/round / patta / 6.7 cms. dia./ Bird version.

Bazar Quality

1988

21

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Ath-Rangi Sara:

Krishna-Radha Ashtamall

Eight episodes of Bal-Krishna, with demons.

Banamali Mahapatra

96/8/rectangular / card / 6.3cms. x 8.75cms.

 1990

22

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Ath-Rangi Sara:

Krishna on raja and Radha on vazir cards

Banamali Mahapatra

96/8/round / card / 7.6 cms. dia. / Bird version.

1995

23

Raghurajpur,

Orissa

Ath-Rangi Sara:

Balaram on raja cards; Krishna on pradhan cards

Banamali Mahapatra

96/8/round / card / 7.6 cms. dia.

1995

24

Chikiti, Orissa

Ath-Rangi Sara:

Krishna-Balarama Ashtmali-in standing position

Appana Mahapatro

 

96/8/round / patta / 7.6 cms. dia.

1993

25

Chikiti, Orissa

Ath-Rangi Sara:

Krishna-Radha sitting on a swing, Bal Krishna on pradhan cards / extended version

Apparna Mahapatro

120/10/round / card / 7.5 cms. dia.

1993

26

Parlakhemundi, Orissa

Ath-Rangi-Sara:

Krishna-Balarama Ashtamali-in sitting position

Not known

96/8/round / patta / 6.75 cms. dia.

 

1990

27

 

 

Parlakhemundi,

Orissa

Ath-Rangi Sara

Krishna Radha Ashtamali-in standing position

Prakshchandra Mahapatra

96/8/round / patta / 7.7 cms. dia.

1990

28

Parlakhemundi, Orissa

Moghul ganjifa

Prakashchandra Mahapatra

96/8/round / patta / 7.3cms. dia

 1990

29

Parlakhemundi, Orissa

Moghul ganjifa

Prakashchandra Mahapatra

96/8/round / patta / 7.3 cm. dia./ bird version

 1992

30

Parlakhemundi, Orissa

Navagraha

(Nine Planets)

ganjifa

Prakashchandra Mahapatra

108/9/round / patta /8.2 cms. dia.

1993

31

Chikiti, Orissa

Ath-Rangi sara -Rama Pattabhisheka (Enthroning of Sri Ramachandra) Eight various incidents in Rama's life

Appana Mahapatro

96/8/round / patta / 7.8 cms. dia.

1992

32

Chikiti, Orissa

Ath-Rangi Sara- Rama-Pattabhisheka. Eight other Episodes in Rama’s Life

Appana Mahapatro

96/8/round / patta / 11.6 cms. dia. /

Large pictures with minute detail.

 1993

33

Berhampur, Orissa

Ath-Rangi sara rath-hathi (Chariot Elephant)

Bird version

 Sitakanta Mahapatra

96/8/round / patta / 6.7 cmc. dia.

 1988

34

 

Berhampur, Orissa

Ath-Rangi sara

rath-hathi

(Chariot Elephant)

Sitakanta Mahapatra

96/8/round / patta / 6.7 cms. dia.

1988

35

Puri, Orissa

Navagunjara ganjifa-nine limbed animal-Vishnu and pradhan being Arjuna

 Not Known

96/8/round-small sized / On coloured sticker cards / 5.7cms. dia. (Total-95 cards-one card missing – 3 of ghulam)

 1988

36

Chikiti, Orissa

Navagraha (Nine planets) ganjifa

Appana Mahapatro

108/9/round / patta / 7.8cms. dia. (Total- 107- one card missing-raja of chandra)

 1990

37

Chikiti, Orissa

Navagraha ganjifa-extended version of nine planets- with addition of Pluto, Uranus, & Neptune

Appana Mahapatro

144/12/round / cards / 8.75cms. dia.

1992 

38

Chikiti, Orissa

Ashta Dikpala ganjifa with animal vehicles as suit symbols

Appana Mahapatro

96/8/round / card / 9.8 cms. dia.

1992

39

Chikiti, Orissa

Ashta -dikpala ganjifa with weapons and attributes as suit symbols

Appana Mahapatro

96/8/round / card /8.2 cms. dia.

 

1992

40

Chikiti, Orissa

Rama Pattabhisheka Ath-Rangi Sara extended version of 96 cards with two addition suits

Appana Mahapatro

120/10/round / patta / 7.8 cms. dia.

 1992

41

 

 

 

 

Chikiti, Orissa

 

Dasamahavidya-ten forms of devi. With Shiva on all the raja cards. pradhan cards show ten different pictures of Parvati's forms

Appana Mahapatro

120/10/round-large / card / 9.5 cms. dia.

 2002

42

Chikiti, Orissa

Dasamahavidya-ten forms of devi. With Devi on tiger on all raja cards. pradhan cards show ten different pictures of Parvati's forms

Appana Mahapatro

120/10/round/ card / 8.75 cms. dia..

 2002

43

Chikiti, Orissa

Bhagawat Rahasya ganjifa-episodes from Srimad Bhagawat. Story of Bhagwat in ten parts

Appana Mahapatro

144/12/round / card /8.75 cms. dia.

 1990

44

Chikiti, Orissa

Mahabharata ganjifa-twelve scenes of the epic.

Appana Mahapatro

144/12/round/ card / 9.9 cms. dia.

 1992

45

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Arundhati and Saptarishis ganjifa

Banamali Mahapatro

96/8/round/ patta / 9.99 cms. dia.

 2000

46

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Arundhati and Saptarishis ganjifa-fascimile of an earlier set painted on ivory in German Musuem

Banamali Mahapatro

96/8/round / patta / 9.99 cms. dia.

2000 

47

Behrampur, Orissa

Arundhati and Saptarishis ganjifa

Sitakanta Mahapatro

96/8/round/ card / 7.5 cms. dia.

 1998

48

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Sapta matrika ganjifa

Banamali Mahapatro

96/8/round / card / 8.7 cms. dia.

 2000

49

Behrampur, Orissa

Sapta matrika ganjifa

Sitakanta Mahapatro

96/8/round / patta / 6.7cms. dia.

 2000

50

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Dancer ganjifa - Vishnu on rajas, and Arjun on pradhan cards- Dancers on numeral cards

Banamali Mahapatro

120/10/round/ card / 9.9cms. dia.

 1998

51

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Dancer ganjifa with Indra on raja cards/Indrani on Vazir cards- Dancers on numeral cards

Banamali Mahapatra

120/10/round / card / 8.8 cms. dia.

 1998

52

Parlakhemundi, Orissa

Ramayana ganjifa. Colourful episodes are found in this set.

Facsimile of earlier set now in the V& A Museum, London, made by Vaishnav Mahapatra, 125 years ago.

Prakashchandra Mahapatra

120/10/round / patta / 8.5cms. dia.

 1996

53

Sonepur, Subernapur dist, Orissa

Sonepur Ramayana Ganjappa showing Sri Rama's army on first 72 cards and Ravan's army on the last 72 cards.

Satyanarayan Maharana

144/12/round / patta / Putalabandi / 6.3cms. dia.

 

 1995

54

Sonepur, Subernapur dist, Orissa

Sonepur Ramayana Ganjappa

Satyanarayan Maharana

144/12/round/ patta / 3.8cms. dia.

 1995

55

Sonepur, Subernapur dist, Orissa

Sonepur Ramayana Ganjappa

Putalabandi.

Satyanarayan Maharana

144/12/round/ card / 8.75cms. dia.

1996

56

 

 

Sonepur,

Subernapur Dist.

Orissa

Sonepur Ramayana Bicycle Ganjappa

Satyanarayan Maharana

144/12/round / card / 5.6 cms. dia.

All the 12 Pradhans are shown riding bicycles!

1998

57

Sonepur, Subernapur dist, Orissa

Sonepur Ramayana Ganjappa

Gyananidhi Maharana

144/12/round/card / 8.2cms. dia./Putalabandi

2007

58

Sonepur,

Subernapur Dist,

Orissa

Sonepur Ramayana Motorbike Ganjappa

Gyannidhi Maharana

144/12/round / card / 6.1 cms. dia.

Different motorcycle on each pradhan card

2007

59

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Nakshatra (28 constellations)

Jagannath Mahapatra

336/28/round / patta / 7.00 cms. dia.

 1986

60

Puri, Orissa

Rashi (Zodiac signs) ganjifa

 Not Known

144/12/rectangular / patta / 9.0cms. x 6.0cms.

1985

61

Chikiti, Orissa

Rashi (Zodiac signs) ganjifa

Appana Mahapatro

144/12/round/ card/ 10.2 cms. dia./ surya on raja cards

 1990

62

Parlakhemundi, Orissa

Naqsh

Prakashchandra

Mahapatra

60/5/round / patta / 7.2 cms. dia.

 

1990

63

Parlakhemundi, Orissa

Naqsh

Prakashchandra

Mahapatra

60/5/round/patta / 6.2 cms. dia.

1990

64.

Bishnupur, W.Bengal

Dashavatara

Sital Fouzdar

120/10/round / patta / 5.2cms. dia.

 2000

65

Bishnupur, W.Bengal

Dashavatara

Sital Fouzdar

120/10/round/ patta / 7.2cms. dia.

 2000

66

Bishnupur, W.Bengal

Dashavatara

Sital Fouzdar

120/10/round/ card / 15.4cms. dia.

2000

67

Bishnupur,

W. Bengal

Dashavatara

Bansori Fouzdar

120/10/round / patta / 10.5 cms. dia.

1992

68

Bishnupur, W.Bengal

Dasamahavidya (ten forms of Durga) ganjifa

Bansori Fouzdar

120/10/round/ patta/ 10.8cms. dia.

1996

69

Bishnupur, W.Bengal

Naqsh

Subal Fouzdar

48/4/round/ patta / 11.5cms. dia./

Four suits of 12 cards each

 2002

70

Bishnupur, W.Bengal

Naqsh

Sital Fouzdar

48/4/round / patta / 2.00cms. dia.

2004

71

Bishnupur, W.Bengal

Naqsh

Sital Fouzdar

48/4/rectangular / patta /9.0 cms. x 6.0 cms.

 2005

72

Nirmal, Andhra Pradesh

Dashavatara

Busongini Nirmal

120/10/small/ card / 5.2cms. dia.

2004

73

Nirmal, Andhra Pradesh

Dashavatara

Busongini Nirmal

120/10/round / card / 7.3 cms. dia./ Fascimile

Original of 1790, of Nossom, Deccan in Vienna Museum

2007

74

Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh

Dashavatara

Deccan-1840

Older

Not Known

120/10/round, small / card / 4.60cms. dia

1840

75

Nirmal, Andhra Pradesh

Mughal ganjifa- Changa Rani

 Busongini

Nirmal

96/8/round / card / 5.3cms. dia.

 2006

76

Nirmal, Andhra Pradesh

Mughal ganjifa- Rajasthan Style

 Busongini

Nirmal

96/8/round / card / 5.2cms. dia.

 2007

77

 

Nirmal, Andhra Pradesh

Mughal ganjifa- Changa Rani

 Busongini

Nirmal

96/8/rectangle/ card /9.3cm. X 6.2cms

 1994

78

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Dashavatara

Not known 

older set

117/10 (117 cards from 120 cards-three less) round, patta / 6.5 cms. dia.

Early 20 th century

79

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Dashavatara

 Not known

older set

116/10 (less 4), round / patta / 4.5 cms dia

Late 19th century

80

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Dashavatara

 Workshop

120/10/ Darachitri/ round / card / 9.9 cms. dia.

 1990

81

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Dashavatara

Kanekar

120/10/Darachitri/round / card / 11.00 cms. dia.

 2007

82

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Dashavatara

 Workshop

120/10/ round / card / 9.9 cms./ pure gold and silver leaf painted

 1995

83

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Dashavatara

 Workshop

120/10/round / card / 8.2 cms dia

 1990

84

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Dashavatara

 Workshop

120/10/square / card / 8.2” x 8.2”/ 10-colour background

 1998

85

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Dashavatara

 Workshop

120/10/square/ card/ 3.9cms. x 3.9cms.

 1998

86

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Dashavatara

 Workshop

120/10/ round/ card / 5.2 cms.dia.

 2000

87

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Dashavatara

 Workshop

120/10/round/ card / 3.00cms. dia.

 1986

88

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Dashavatara

 Workshop

120/10/round / card / 8.2 cms. dia / bird version

 1986

89

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Dashavatara

 Workshop

120/10/ round/ card /8.2 cms. dia/ animal version

 1986

90

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Dashavatara

 Not known

120/10/ round / card / 8.2 cms. dia./

Excellent workmanship; minute details, supplied with jari cloth bag- different school.

 1998

91

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Dashavatara

 Not known

120/10/ round / card / 8.75 cms. dia. /another school

 1988

92

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Dashavatara

 Facsimile

120/10/round / card / 7.8 cms. dia. / a facsimile of an earlier 18th century AD painted Dashavatara ganjifa cards of Sheopur, Madhya Pradesh

 2006

93

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Moghul ganjifa- Changa Kanchan

 Workshop

96/8/round / card / 8.2 cms. dia.

 1986

94

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Moghul ganjifa- Changa Kanchan

 Workshop

96/8/round/ card /3.00cms. dia.

 2000

95

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Moghul ganjifa- Rajasthan style

 Workshop

96/8/round / card / 5.0cms. dia.

 2006

96

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Dhanalakshmi ganjifa- nine forms of Goddess Sri Lakshmi Devi

 Workshop

108/9/rectangular / card / 9.9cms x 7.9cms.

 1990

97

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Navagraha (Nine planets) ganjifa

 Workshop

108/9/round / card / 10.4cms. dia.

 1990

98

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Navagraha (Nine planets) ganjifa

 Workshop

108/9/round / card / 8.2cms. dia.

 1986

99

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Musical instrument ganjifa

 Workshop

120/10/round / card / 8.2cms. dia.

 1988

100

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Rashi (Zodiac Signs) ganjifa

 Workshop

144/12/round/ card / 8.2 cms. dia.

 1988

101

Bangalore, Karnataka

Dashavatara

Sudha Venkatesh

120/10/round / card / 7.9cms. dia / Mysore style

 1995

102

Mysore, Karnataka

Dashavatara

Raghupathi Bhatt

120/10/ round / card / 7.1cms. dia./ Mysore style

 2002

103

Mysore, Karnataka

Dashavatara

Raghupati Bhatt

120/10/ round / special velvet back card / screen printed / 5.00cms. dia.

 2000

104

Bangalore, Karnataka

Marriage cards

Sudha Venkatesh

36/4/rectangle/ card / 9.00cms. x 5.00cms./ Mysore style

 1990

105

Bangalore, Karnataka

Navin Rama

Sudha Venkatesh

36/4/rectangle / card / 10.5cms. x 7.4cms./ Mysore style

 1990

106

Bangalore, Karnataka

Krishnaraj Chad

Sudha Venkatesh

72/4/rectangle / card / 9.4cms. x 6.4cms./ Mysore style

 1994

107

Bangalore, Karnataka

Krishnaraj Chad

Sudha Venkatesh

72/4/round/ card / 8.2cms. dia./ Mysore style

 2000

108

Bangalore, Karnataka

Ashta Dikpala

Sudha Venkatesh

96/8/round / card / 8.0cms. dia./ Mysore style

 1996

109

Bangalore, Karnataka

Navagraha (nine planets)

Sudha Venkatesh

108/9/round / card / 8.7cms. dia./ Mysore style

 2002

110

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Hindu Astro-mythological cards with 22 major arcane consisting of planets and Zodiac gods/goddesses and 56 minor arcanas of Visnu, Brahma, Shiva and Indra suits.

Conceptualized by Gordhandas, the set was handpainted by artists from Sawantwadi in 1990

78 cards / rectangle / card / 11.00cms. x 8.2cms.

 1990

111

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Hindu Astro-mythological cards

 Sawantwadi

78/round/card/9.5cms. dia./ ivory colour background

 1990

112

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Hindu Astro-mythological cards

 Sawantwadi

78/ small/rectangle/ card / 8.2cms. x 6.00cms.

1990 

113

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Hindu Astro-mythological cards

 Sawantwadi

78/rectangle/card/ 8.2cms x 11.5 cms./ chocolate brown

 1992

114

Pune, Maharashtra

Dashavatara cards, circa 1940

Printed in Chitrashala Printing Press, Poona- circa.1940

120/10/round/ card/ 2.75cms. dia.

1940

115

Sheopur, Madhya Pradesh

Dashavatara, facsimile ca.  18 CE. Printed by Vito Arientti, Italy

 

120/10/round/ card / 8.3cms. dia / printed

 1980

116

Rajasthan

Moghul ganjifa -18 CE; printed by Fournier and Co., Spain in 2004 from the original set in the Museum's collection.

 

96/8/round/ card/ 6.1cms. dia

 2004

117

Rajasthan/ Madhya Pradesh

Moghul ganjifa- of 19 CE, printed by Fournier and Co. Spain around 2004

 

 

96/8/round/ card / 7.5cms. dia

2004

118

Mysore/ USA

 

 

Ashta Dikapala - ganjifa of 96 cards -originally painted in Mysore, circa. 1996– printed in USA, private, in 2004

 

96/8/round/ card- 7.7 cms. dia.

2004

119

 

Puri, Orissa

Dashavatara

Not known

144-1 (Total 143 cards / One card missing-nine of Narasimha.) / 12 /rectangle/ Sandalwood / 7.6 cms. x 4.7 cms.

1996

120

 

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Navadurga (Nine forms of Goddess Durga) ganjifa

Banamali Mahapatra

108 / 9 /round /card / 10.1 cms. dia. / pradhans show nine different forms of Durgadevi.

2007

121

 

 

Chikiti, Orissa

Ath-Rangi Sara: rath-hathi

Appana Mahapatro

96-1 (Total 95 cards-One card missing) / 8 / round / patta / 7.8 cms. dia. / all the rajas and pradhans are the same except for the suit colours. A gambling game from Gajapati dist., Orissa.

1986

122

Sawantwadi, Maharashtra

Moghul ganjifa: - Changakanchan

Workshop

96 / 8 / round / card / 10.2 cms. dia.

2008

123

Raghurajpur, Orissa

Navagraha

Banamali Mahapatra

108/ 9/ round/ card/ 9.9cms dia.

2005

124

Bishnupur,

W. Bengal

Krishna -Leela ganjifa

Mousumi Fouzdar

108 / 9/ round / patta / 9.6 cms. dia.

2007

 

ABOUT GANJIFA CARDS

 

Among the popular Pastimes of Ancient India, the game of Cards (Ganjifa) found as much favour with Kings, Courtiers and general masses as the Pachisi (Dice) and Chess. While the popularity of Chess continues unabated to this day, the Ganjifa Cards and their games have passed into oblivion. We do not know whether the card games were played for amusement or speculation, but the Indian Ganjifa Cards were and are extremely colourful and painted in such a wide variety that one tends to hold one’s breath.

Many theories have been put forward about the origin of playing cards and claims have been made by many a country as their birthplace. In the literature of playing cards, several European Countries and Egypt, India, China and Korea have been given the honour of having devised this ingenious instrument for the exercise of the mental prowess of deduction and combination. It is possible that Chinese Playing Cards using money as suit signs, spread westward, during the thirteenth century and were modified en route. The cards were brought to India by Moghul Emperors early in the sixteenth century. Once established, the cards spread to most regions of India either in their original form known as Moghul Ganjifa, or in its slightly later Hindu form known as Dashavatara Ganjifa.

In June, 1527, Babar, the first Moghul ruler, sent Playing Cards (Ganjifa) to his friend in Singh. This was probably the eight-suited pack of 96 Cards. By the 16th Century, several different types of Ganjifa games had already been developed in India. A neatly tabulated description of twelve-suited and eight-suited packs with all the details of cards and suit signs are provided by Abul Fazal, the Vazeer and biographer of King Akbar in his book Ain-e-Akbari.

King Akbar made some alternations in the cards and he is said to have invented a new game of 96 cards with eight suits of 12 cards each, which is now known as Moghul Ganjifa. The eight suits of Moghul Ganjifa packs are surprisingly constant from the beginning of the 16th Century to the present day.

The Hinduisation of Ganjifa themes must have contributed greatly to the spread and popularity of the games. DASHAVATARA Ganjifa with the Avataras as incarnates of Shri VISHNU was the most popular Card game in Rajasthan, Bengal, Nepal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

The structure and the rules of the play of both the games- Moghul and Dashavatara Ganjifa, are essentially the same. The Orissan Pack has been extended to twelve suits by the addition of Shree Ganesh and Shree Karthikeya suits and to sixteen and twenty suits by the addition of further divinities.


Today, the Ganjifa Cards are being made in Sawantwadi, Maharashtra; in Nirmal, Andhra Pradesh; Bishnupur in West Bengal; and in Puri, Bhubaneswar, Raghurajpur, Dindosahi, Parlakhenmundi, Chikiti, Sonepur and such other places in Orissa. Many Traditional Artists have died in recent years, and although much has been done in the past few years for encouraging this Art, without proper understanding and encouragement to the present generation of Artists, Ganjifa Art and Games might fade away sooner than later. Illustrated talks, workshops, Exhibitions, Articles and other publications on Ganjifa can give some kind of understanding, general knowledge from various catalogues also would help and bring awareness among Indians on Ganjifa Cards and games.

 

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