SUMMARY: Beautiful Russian folk art
Natalia Silva is the designer of the Russian Folk Art Playing Cards, which was printed by USPCC. She has created a number of other artistic decks, but the Russian Folk Art deck is one of her most artistic, most popular, and best, and she's produced several versions of it.
For this deck, which features strong colours of red and green often associated today with Christmas, Natalia took her inspiration from her Russian heritage and culture. In her own words "Traditional folk art has always played an intrinsic part of domestic culture across Russia and represents the rooted artistic perceptions, traditions and practices of the citizens." In making these cards, she created 54 original designs. That's right: every single card in the deck has a different design, including the number cards!
The circular floral design on the card-backs immediately creates an artistic impression of a careful design within the context of strict patterns and structures. A similar style emerges with the over-sized Aces, which have ornate decorations inside and around them.
Every other number in the deck features a single image with variations according to each suit. For example, the 10s all feature the Russian Orthodox Church, while the 2s seen below all feature the Kremlin, which is the heart of Russian political life, and the centre of its culture and history. The 9s all picture a Russian Samovar, a device traditionally used to heat and boil water for tea, and in Russian tradition considered to have a soul.
Russian folk art often features nature themes, like the 3s, which have different design elements symbolic of protection against evil and sources of good things. The 5s feature the famous Russian Nesting Doll (Matryoshka), invented over 100 years ago, and today widely recognized as a symbol of Russian culture. The court cards are also all inspired by the Russian Nesting Doll, and have a strong emphasis on nature and floral motifs.
Traditionally, the style of Russian folk art involved many decorative elements, like ornaments and floral designs (e.g. flowers, leaves, buds). Wild flowers and berries are common motifs. The bird is often used as a symbol of the promise of harvest and wealth, and embodying love, marriage, and motherhood. All of these elements are beautiful evident in this lovely deck!
- BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame