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Playing with Irish Myths
Use the dropdown list above to choose either the Symmetrical or Asymmetrical deck.
Owning both versions of these cards is a no-brainer for anyone who's into Celtic history and folklore, or who is simply proud of having Irish roots. Even if you don't have a personal connection with the Celts, you'll appreciate the beauty and originality of the art.
This standard poker deck is manufactured for Culturlan by Bicycle for consistently high quality. You get 52 playing cards plus two Jokers and two informative cut cards, all with original artwork by medieval studies professor Dr. James Acken. These standard playing cards feature imagery drawn from medieval stories from Ireland and Scotland and classical Celtic iconography. The Celtic Myth decks feature the most accurate portrayal of such legendary figures as the Morrigain, Lugh, Cu Chulainn, Fionn MacCumhaill and other lesser-known but equally important faeries and heroes. The Celtic Myth deck is the perfect entry-point for those wishing to learn more about Celtic mythology or gift for those who have a deep and abiding interest in all things magical and beautiful. The cards are linen-finished and come in a cellophane-wrapped tuck box.
The Asymmetrical deck has an asymmetrical back and shows opposing figures on all of the face cards -- each face card features two portraits. Click on the thumbnail picture of the Kings of Spades (above), then click the Zoom magnifying glass icon under the picture, to see a good example of the thought and detail that goes into every face card: It depicts the two prototypical kings of Gaelic tradition, Nuadha and Breass. Nuadha represents good kingship while Breass represents the bad. Their weapons reflect this, with Nuadha's sword representing inherent discernment and Breass's spear learned skill. Skill is obviously important, but ultimately destructive without inherent discernment. This card contrasts the two through the colors of their respective cloaks. Green and red, now associated with the Yuletide and its iconic holly tree, were associated with the world of the Sidh in the Gaelic Middle Ages, emblematic of the relationship between the two worlds and eternal opposites like life and death.
The Symmetrical deck has the same lavish attention to detail. It's designed for those who prefer symmetry and harmony to the clash of asymmetric opposition. Both the face and the back are symmetrical. The face cards each have one mirrored portrait, as in a standard poker deck (King of Clubs pictured above).
The Aces and the number cards are the same in both decks. Only the face cards and the card backs differ. Both card backs are also pictured above.
Don't forget to choose which deck you want from the list above. To buy both decks, add the product to your cart twice (once for each deck). If either deck doesn't appear in the list then it is temporarily out of stock.
If you're buying your decks as gifts, tick the box above to add an attractive velveteen drawstring pouch suitable for permanent card storage.
...Are you curious?
The creators of these cards named their company Culturlan after the Irish word "culturlann," a place dedicated to preserving Irish culture. The Culturlan company's name is best translated as "culture-full." Their mission is to blur the boundaries between education and entertainment, offering functional products that re-contextualize historic practices and beliefs. In other words, the mythology and symbolism behind the artwork were solidly researched for accuracy.