Russian playing cards inspired by ancient Mayan art

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Apparently, one of the few playing card sets available in Soviet Russia was themed to ancient Mayan iconography. I love the designs, some of which, like this King of Hearts, I can recognize as taking inspiration from real, specific Mayan artworks. For instance, the "King" here, ironically, looks an awful lot like a detail from Yaxchilan Lintel 24, which actually depicts a womanLady Xoc, one of the most powerful female figures in Mayan history.

And that rope she's holding in the card image? In the Lintel version you can see that:

A) the rope is studded with little blades and
B) that Lady Xoc is pulling it through a hole in her tongue.

In fact, the entire Lintel depicts a religious ritual. Lady Xoc's royal blood is collected and burned as an offering. Her husband, King Shield Jaguar the Great, stands over her, holding a torch. Cool stuff.

Pictures of Yaxchilan Lintel 24, now at the British Museum, after the cut.

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Lady Xoc detail of Yaxchilan Lintel 24. Photographed by Flickr user Bill Hails, used via CC

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The full view of Lintel 24, from the British Museum.

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For scale: Lintel 24 with Maggie. This is actually one of my favorite Mayan carvings. I got to see it in person in 2007. Woot!

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