China's extraordinary history dates back to more than 5000 years and provides a rich collection of royal subjects which forms the basis of the Chao Playing Cards (limited production run of 1200 each).
Over the lengthy span of Chinese history, each Chao (which is the pronounced word for dynasty in the Chinese language) is distinguished by the name and the impact of the individuals who ruled over that period of time. This very special and unique deck of cards pays tribute to four of the greatest and most recognized dynasties in Chinese history - Han, Tang, Ming and Qing. Each dynasty has an outstanding and reputable Emperor, Empress and General, each with their own notorious traits and fascinating stories. The Chao depict these influential men and women who were renowned and celebrated from each of the four famous dynasties.
To ensure we captured the essence of each dynasty, we invested a lot of time and resources into the research part of this project. The illustrations and design take inspiration from not only the renowned rulers of the four Dynasties, but also from Chinese culture itself, which is visible throughout the deck.
The chosen Chinese Emperors, Empresses and Generals for the King, Queen and Jack cards all represent great power, wealth and wisdom, each with different traits and personalities and each dynasty holds their own trademarks to differentiate them from others. Inspired by these different elements, each Emperor features distinct clothing and accessories from their era, Empresses have different hair pieces and hold the instrument that they played, and Generals wear armor and yield the weapon used to fight in their notorious battles. Fine intricate details are added onto each court card, allowing each individual to possess different facial features that best reflect their character.
The Chao was designed to closely follow that of a traditional deck of cards in terms of positioning including head facing direction, hand placements and the presence of weapons and artifacts.
The 4 Aces include very detailed Chinese patterns. We also added a Chinese dragon on the Ace of Spades - a symbolism of imperial power and strength. Each suit (Spades, Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds) reflects one of the four chosen dynasties (Han, Tang, Ming and Qing). The Joker cards contain 2 very important figures of historic China who are still thought of very highly, even up to this present day.
Manufactured by MPC. The card stock used is the M32 linen air coupled with the highly sought-after BETA finishing, which was made for truly exceptional handling.