ORIENTAL IVORY CARVINGS 101
Haroun al-Rashid to Emperor Charlemagne, including an ivory elephant,
is listed in the inventory made in 1534 of the treasures accumulated in
the Abbey of St. Denis, as follows:*
Ung jeu complet de schetz d'yvire, et trente tables aussi d'yvire qui estoient à Charles maigne non prisez.
Ung elephant aussi d'yvire taillé à plusieurs personnages dessus et alentour luy aussi non prisé.
playing cards have been made in the Orient, both in earlier centuries
and at the present time. The collection of Mr. Francis Douce, in
England, is said to contain some such cards of Hindu workmanship with
gilded figures, and in Persia also ivory has been used for this purpose
occasionally. In some sets of these Persian cards of the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries the cards are not engraved with figures but with
groups of objects constituting numerals. A more modern set, from the
nineteenth century, bears elaborately designed figures of potentates
and knights, similar to our court cards; one of these cards, however,
shows a tiger stretched out at full length and a rising sun. A curious
entry in an old account dating from 1396 provides that 12 sous parisis shall
be paid to Guiot Groslet as recompense for "a case to hold the queen's
[Isabella of Bavaria] cards, the little ivory sticks and the rolls of
parchment." Here we evidently have an instance of the use of ivory
counters to mark the points in a card game.f
The pieces used in playing the game of pachesi (from pachis, twenty-fi ve), a favourite diversion in India, and popularized not long since in Europe and America are
*Bibl. Nat. MS. fr. 18766; fol. 15 of transcription in writer's library from the qolleptioii. of E. Molinier.
tHenry René d'Allemagne, "Les Cartes à Jouer du Quatorzième au Vingtième Siècle," Paris, 1906, pp. 4, 8, 16, 390.