Mulk Wa-Nawwb (Mamluk) card images


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Seems to mean "paper" or "leaves" - and so coincides exactly with the semantic range of the English word.
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According to
http://media.wiley.com/product_data/...71772704-2.pdf
"waraq al-la'ib" means playing cards

and various places have the phrase "ala waraq" meaning "on paper".

There is also a lovely website in Arabic which seems to be devoted to manuscripts and art, called "Al Waraq". Which might mean "Paper" or "The Page".

Lots of recipes for stuffed grape leaves etc. have "waraq" as the "leaf" part.

So the meanings parallel our "leaf", "page", "(sheet of) paper".
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I have written to the author of the piece Kwaw mentions (an edited form of that found in his article in the Encyclopedia Iranica), Dr. Mahmoud Omidsalar.

I will report back if he has any additional information.
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Waraq was a term used for 'paper' money among Jewish merchants of the 11th century. In a letter from the Merchant Barhan of Mahdiyya to Nehorai b. Nissim among the Geniza documents regarding shipments sent in the year 380 [1046-47ce] he refers to pouches of coins to the value of 266 dinar but also to 1300 dirhams of the warak type. Paper money in the 11th century?! If 'waraq' money, then possibly 'waraq' playing cards too??

Kwaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaw
Waraq was a term used for 'paper' money among Jewish merchants of the 11th century. In a letter from the Merchant Barhan of Mahdiyya to Nehorai b. Nissim among the Geniza documents regarding shipments sent in the year 380 [1046-47ce] he refers to pouches of coins to the value of 266 dinar but also to 1300 dirhams of the warak type. Paper money in the 11th century?! If 'waraq' money, then possibly 'waraq' playing cards too??

Kwaw
The Arabic and Persian sources are, in my opinion, the "hot" area of research in playing cards. Few are equipped for it, either linguistically, financially or politically (all that travelling and looking at documents in libraries and universities, and talking with local scholars and other informants).

Since we seem to have another word - waraq - for them, the field has widened.

It wasn't that long ago that Dummett "discovered" that tarocchi was still played in Sicily. He discovered it for the history-of-playing-cards audience, that is.

So I have no doubt that a whole playing-card tradition exists in Persia, that no one has exploited yet. And it will no doubt hold some of the answers about the origin of our own playing card decks, including perhaps how Muluk wa-Nawwab was played and what kind of "oracles" the inscriptions on the cards were.

(BTW - the Mamluk deck was reprinted in facsimile some time ago, and included an essay by Dummett and Abu-Deeb (IIRC) with all the inscriptions translated. It would be nice to find this deck - I would buy it in an instant).
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From search on web found Waraq is also an Urdu word having the same meaning, from Urdu/English dictionary:

Waraq = Card, Flake, Foil, Folio, Leaf, Page, Paper, Sheet

Warqah = Card, Flake, Foil, Folio, Leaf, Paper, Sheet

Wareeqah = Leaflet

and

Waraq al khayal [fancy's leaf] is a term used in muslim poetry for Marijuana.
quote:
"To forbid or even seriously to restrict the use of so gracious an herb as hemp would cause widespread suffering and annoyance and to large bands of worshipped ascetics, deep-seated anger. It would rob the people of a solace in discomfort, of a cure in sickness, of a guardian whose gracious protection saves them from the attacks of evil influences, and whose mightly power makes the devotee of the Victorious, overcoming the demons of hunger and thirst, of panic, fear, of the glamour of Maya or matter, and of madness, able in rest to brood on the Eternal, till the Eternal,possessing him body and soul, frees him from the haunting of self and receives him into the Ocean of Being. These beliefs the Musalman devotee shares to the full. Like his Hindu brother, the Musalman fakir reveres bhang as the lengthener of life, the freer from the bonds of self. Bhang brings union with the Divine spirit. "We drank bhang and the mystery I am he grew plain. So grand a result, so tiny a sin."

"In his devotion to bhang, with reverence, not with the worship, which is due to Allah alone, the North Indian Mussulman joins hynming to the praise of bhang. To the follower of the later religion of Islam the holy spirit in bhang is not the spirit of the Almighty, it is the spirit of the great prophet Khizr, or Elijah. That bhang should be sacred to Khizr is natural; Khizr is the patron saint of water. Still more, Khizr means green, the revered color of the cooling water of bhang. So the Urdu poet sings, "When I quaff fresh bhang I liken its color to the fresh light down of thy youthful beard." The prophet Khizr, the green prophet, cries, "May the drink be pleasing to thee." Nasir, the great North Indian Urdu poet, is loud in praises o his beloved Sabzi, 'the Green One.'
Iznik tile with green parrot, legendary symbol of cannabis
Compared with bhang spirits are naught.
Leave all things thou fool, drink bhang.

From its quickening the imagination, Mussulman poets honor bhang with the title Waraq al-Khayal, 'Fancy's Leaf.' And the Makhazan or great Arab-Greek drug book records many other fond names for the drug. Bhang is the Joy-Giver, the Sky-Flier, the Heavenly-Guide, the Poor Man's Heaven, the Soother of Grief."
end quote from
J.M. Campbell
Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report,
1893-1894

Nomenclature in Urdu for Cannabis sativa (CANNABINACEAE):

bhang, qinnab (bhang), burg-e-qinnab, waraq-ul-khyal, bhang, tukhm bhang.

Kwaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaw
Waraq was a term used for 'paper' money among Jewish merchants of the 11th century. In a letter from the Merchant Barhan of Mahdiyya to Nehorai b. Nissim among the Geniza documents regarding shipments sent in the year 380 [1046-47ce] he refers to pouches of coins to the value of 266 dinar but also to 1300 dirhams of the warak type. Paper money in the 11th century?! If 'waraq' money, then possibly 'waraq' playing cards too??

Kwaw
According to the site here, in reference to banking of the Geniza documents, waraq refers to silver coin, not paper money:
http://www.financeinislam.com/article/8/1/300

"Gold coin was called ‘ayn’, and silver coin was called ‘waraq’."

From the following from an Islam forum it appears dirham were silver coins, minted in Iraq [warak = silver], Dinar gold coins, used in Syria and Egypt:

quote:
Imam Malik narrates some of 'Umar's 'urf-based judgments. One example is the payment of blood money, which continued to be based on the prevailing custom. He made a distinction between people who used gold and those who used silver. Those who used gold had to pay a fine of approximately one thousand dinars (a dinar was a gold coin), while those who used silver had to pay approximately twelve thousand dirhams (a dirham was a silver coin). These coins, mentioned quite often in both fiqhi and early hadith literature, were in circulation in the urban areas and were probably minted in such neighboring countries as Persia. According to Malik, the Syrians and Egyptians used gold in their commercial transactions, while the Iraqis used silver. Such usage might have been influenced by the traditions of the Persian and Byzantine empires.

Malik also elaborates on the payment of blood money. He says that payment is to be made in the currency used by the people. For those who still deal in a cashless economy, namely those in the rural areas, payment is to be taken from their real wealth: their camels. Al Shaybani relates that 'Umar laid down the following payments: one hundred camels for those whose wealth was in camels (ahl al ibil), ten thousand dirhams for those who used silver (ahl al waraq), one thousand dinars for those who used gold (ahl al dhahab), two thousand one-year-old sheep for those whose wealth was in sheep (ahl al sha'), two hundred cows for those whose wealth was in cows (ahl al baqar), and two hundred dresses for those whose wealth was in clothing (ahl al hullah).

Kwaw
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"Waraq" appears to mean primarily "leaf", and then extends into paper, sheet, folio etc. Maybe it also means a beaten sheet of silver.

It could be that "waraq" is a Persian word, and "warak" (admittedly I don't know the Arabic spelling, where "k" could be different from "q") is an Arabic word. The fact that both can mean a kind of money could be coincidence. Or the "sheet" aspect was borrowed into Persian from Arabic.

That seems unlikely though. I think it is probably coincidence, like the consonance between dinar and denaro, two different things but both names for the same suit.

And "dollar" is simply a denotation of currency, and does not distinguish its metal or paper forms, even though initially it was a type of coin (Dutch "thaler").
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell
It could be that "waraq" is a Persian word, and "warak" (admittedly I don't know the Arabic spelling, where "k" could be different from "q") is an Arabic word.
Sorry Ross, 'warak' was a typo, it should have read 'waraq'. To offer a brief summary on meaning of 'waraq' so far:

The Mamluk money suit are Dirhams. Dirahms were coins of Silver [waraq] , according to Imam Malik used for commercial transactions by the Iraqis. From Islamic judgements related to blood money we can approximate an idea of relative value:

"Umar laid down the following payments: one hundred camels for those whose wealth was in camels (ahl al ibil), ten thousand dirhams for those who used silver (ahl al waraq), one thousand dinars for those who used gold (ahl al dhahab), two thousand one-year-old sheep for those whose wealth was in sheep (ahl al sha'), two hundred cows for those whose wealth was in cows (ahl al baqar), and two hundred dresses for those whose wealth was in clothing (ahl al hullah)."

Coincindentally (?) in arabic/urdu waraq also means 'paper' [ala waraq = on paper]; 'card' [fal-e waraq = divination by playing cards; waraq al-la'ib = playing cards]; 'leaf' [Waraq al-Khayal = fancy's leaf (Cannabis); mahshi waraq'inab" = stuffed vine leaf]; other meanings include Flake, Foil, Folio, Page, Sheet.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell
Maybe it also means a beaten sheet of silver.
On the meaning of 'waraq' as a ‘‘plate of metal,’’ see JG Hava, Al-Faraid. Arabic-English Dictionary (Beirut, 1970),

Also from the web:
"The manner in which the qibla instrument is contracted is that you make a
round form of paper pasted together (waraq mutamasik) or qar or the like.
You divide its circumference into 360 degrees, and you mark (the direction
of) the prayer-niches of the localities you choose, according to their qibla,
distinguished by an inscription indicating the locality."
From TWO EARLY ARABIC SOURCES ON THE MAGNETIC COMPASS by
Petra G. Schmidl

"There were other proximate currencies percolating throughout the Near East in pre-Islamic times, to be sure, including the Byzantine gold dinar and the Persian silver dirham. Indeed, the Qur'an explicitly mentions the dinar, [Qur'an, 3:75]the dirham, [Qur'an, 12:20] and the waraq [Qur'an, 18:19.] the latter defined by al-Mawardi also as a "silver coin," [Al-Mawardi, Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyah (Cairo: Maktabat Mustafa al-Babi al-Halabi, 1973), 148] most probably of Himyaritic issue."

Kwaw
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