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The Invention of Playing Cards: A Shivering Shaman and the Concubines of Invention

by James McManus |  Published: Dec 26, 2006


Anthropologists such as Stewart Culin have traced the lineage of playing cards back to Korean divinatory arrows. Fired into the air by a shaman, these shafts of bamboo fletched with cock feathers literally and theologically pointed the way – to where game would be grazing or an enemy would attack from, or to choose the best young soldier to receive the hand of the warlord's daughter in marriage.

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