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A miniature of courtiers playing cards with the king can be found in the Roman du Roy Meliadus de Leonnoys (c. It is likely that the precursor of modern cards arrived in Europe from the Mamelukes of Egypt in the late 1300s, by which time they had already assumed a form very close to that in use today.
In particular, the Mameluke deck contained 52 cards comprising four "suits": polo sticks, coins, swords, and cups.
However, it may be that the first deck of cards ever printed was a Chinese domino deck, in whose cards we can see all the 21 combinations of a pair of dice.
In Kuei-t'ien-lu, a Chinese text redacted in the 11th century, we find that dominoes cards were printed during the Tang Dynasty, contemporary to the first printed books.
The earliest cards were made by hand, like those designed for Charles VI; this was expensive.
Decks used to play have from eight up to twenty suits).
In the late 14th century, the use of playing cards spread rapidly throughout Europe.
The Chinese word (牌) is used to describe both paper cards and gaming tiles.
An Indian origin for playing cards has been suggested by the resemblance of symbols on some early European decks (traditional Sicilian cards, for example) to the ring, sword, cup, and baton classically depicted in the four hands of Indian statues.