What is a French face card in a card deck?
Table of content:
- The origins of the French face card
- Standard patterns of French face card
- Who is who in French face cards?
Cards are not just aesthetically pleasing due to all those varied designs but also weave interesting stories through their depictions. Puzzled? Then pick up the nearest card deck and take a look at the face cards or the court cards. The kings, and queens and jacks/ knaves are no random royalty – they are historical or mythical personas that you might have heard, seen or read about. If your curiosity has been piqued, then read on to learn more!
While historians continue to debate the origins of the playing cards, a known fact is that these cards were introduced in Europe by Egypt in the 15th Century AD. The Europeans modified these cards to suit their own tastes and preferences and with it ensured that the face cards represented their own royalty and famous figures.
The French pattern of cards is known as standard pattern based on the deck size and the artwork that is on it. The cards consist of the following suits namely, the rèfles (clovers or clubs), the carreaux (tiles or diamonds), the cœurs (hearts), and piques (pikes or spades). Each of these suits have three face cards known as the Roi (king), the Dame (Queen) and the Valet (Knave or Jack).
There are several regional variations of the cards like the Parisian patter, the Lombard and Tuscan pattern, the Lyonnais pattern etc. The English pattern, based on the Rouennais pattern, is the most well-known pattern in the world.
Since these cards were introduced in Europe during a time when the society was male centric, the face cards contained only the knaves (or jacks as we know now) and the kings. The introduction of a queen card was first done by Germany and it has continued to be a part of the deck ever since. In fact, it is believed that the queens first appeared in the Tarot cards following which the Germans abandoned two kings and replaced one with a queen. Also note that the joker is a very recent addition to the pack of cards and bears no such background from history.
The following figures were chosen by the French to signify their takeover of the playing cards in the 16th Century AD. Though these are figures that are often depicted, there may be variations found here and there.
Let’s meet the kings first,
These French face cards are followed by the elegant, majestic queens,
Not to forget, the knaves in French face cards too!
Knowing all this history will bring your game to life. It is not just some king and queen that you are playing in your hand, but Caesar or Alexander rooting for you to win. You can almost visualise these great, heroic figures battling it out for you. And now with this new found, profound knowledge of your card deck, we wish you – ‘happy playing’!
Practise your knowledge of the French face cards by downloading the GetMega app!