And took my sleep away!\nWhy are these little artworks so attractive?\nOr elusive?\nA complete set consisting of 120 cards is very very rare!\nThe odd card is seen here and there \u2026 but the ones that surface are usually single cards or at best, a handful.\nAnd so when in a stroke of good luck I come across an antique complete set, I lost my sleep. Justifiably.\nIt must have been wonderful living in the \u201970s when all this was within reach \u2013 when plenty of each of these now-elusive items were abundantly available and not many really cared for old things.\n(But then they did not have the internet \u2026 and so even a dealer in a small town in a small province in a faraway country is \u2018within reach\u2019 today \u2026so I do not know whether the \u201970s were truly better!)\n***\nFeatured here are these tiny beauties \u2013 painted sometime in the 1800s and used for several decades thereafter.\nIn current-day poker cards we have 4 suits \u2013 Spaded, Diamonds, Hearts & Clubs.\nIn this set there are 10 suits \u2013 made up of the 10 incarnations of Vishnu. And hence it is called the Dashavatar Ganjifa set. [Das = 10, Avatar = incarnation]\n\n[The association between name and card is my guesswork \u2026 not sure though. Any inputs?]\nIn place of the King and Queen in current-day cards we have two \u2018court scene cards\u2019 in each suit.\u00a0The highest card, has an image of Vishnu \u00a0Avatar, and the second highest card, has the Pradhan or Mantri and the General on steeds.\n\nEach suit also has 10 pip cards\u00a0just like the cards numbering from 1 to 10 in current-day poker cards. Each suit is\u00a0identified by the object such as axe or trident that is unique to the set of 12 cards. But instead of painting the numeral \u20185\u2019, \u00a0the number is represented by the count of the objects associated with that Avatar\u2019s suit.\n\n\nDashavatara Ganjifa\u00a0is played by three persons with 120 cards, mainly in Sawantwadi in Maharashtra, India.\nThe signs of wear tell me of the fun that these cards must have delivered to the players. Who were the players? Men? Women?\nSawantwadi is just two hours away from Goa. If I go looking, will I find the family of the original owners? Or the painters?\nThe high quality and perfection in the paintings tell us that these cards are precious and must have belonged to someone of substantial means. So the subset of possibilities is substantially smaller than all the families in that town.\nMaybe I should go\u2026 to find the history of someone\u2019s precious memories that are imprinted onto these!\n\u00a0\njaina mishra\n\nThe post Along came a Ganjifa Set\u2026 appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.