Middle Kingdom was used to refer to civilizations around the Yellow River Valley before the empires leading to modern-day China began to form. The court cards use exquisitely detailed line art of Chinese deities and people, while the card back is an excellent freehand drawing with interpretations of Chinese lattice borders and, of course, a dragon.
China’s vast history provides a rich palette of subjects for court cards.
King of Clubs: Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, creator of the centralized state
King of Hearts: Pangu, the first living being and creator of the Earth from chaos
King of Spades: Tai Di, the “Primordial Divinity” or “Utmost God”
King of Diamonds: Caishen, the main Chinese deity of prosperity
Queen of Spades: Nuwa, humanity’s creator along with her twin brother, Fuxi
Queen of Diamonds: Lan Caihe, an immortal portrayed sometimes as a man dressed as a woman and other times as a woman, Lan Caihe was said to have ridden to heaven on the back of a magical swan while in a drunken stupor
Queen of Hearts: He Xiangu, an immortal renowned for her selfless caring for others
Queen of Clubs: Xi Wangmu, Queen Mother of the West. She held court and allowed deities to meet in her perfect palace
Jack of Hearts: Fuxi, humanity’s creator along with his twin sister, Nuwa
Jack of Spades: Zhan Yinbao, an Army officer
Jack of Clubs: Yu Shi, the rain deity
Jack of Diamonds: Luxing, a deity who made people happy through promotions and salary increases
Fantastic creatures play a large role in Chinese mythology, and we wanted to honor those representing our suits:
Kui (Clubs): A one-legged Ox that would warn of coming storms. The Yellow Emporer (the King of Spades) used Kui’s skin for a drum that could be heard hundreds of miles away
Phoenix (Hearts): Sun, warmth, and love
Dragon (Spades): The most powerful creature
Pixiu (Diamonds): Brings in good luck and wealth and drives away evil
You will be proud to own, display, and use Middle Kingdom Playing Cards. It will be apparent to all how much quality and thought was put into this marvelous deck!