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Tarot History Search started September 2004       

William Henry Wilkinson (1858-1930)

Sir William Henry Wilkinson, "was a British Sinologist who served as British consul in China and Korea and who wrote articles and books on Chinese games".

His major contribution to Playing Card History became a short article in "The American Anthropologist", Volume VIII, January 1895, Pages 61-78, in which Wilkinson suggested the Chinese origin of the playing cards.

Beside his general suggestion to the playing card origin Wilkinson made the proposal, that the Italian Tarocchi trumps developed from Chinese domino cards:
"What these tarots were originally has puzzled all writers on cards, nor has any one, so far is I am aware, ever attempted to account for their, number, 22. Yet it is exceedingly probable that in them we have the set of twenty-one natural dominoes which [Page 77] forms the base of nearly all Chinese card games that derive their marks from dice. A domino is, of course, nothing but a pair of dice placed side by side (whence the mark across its face), and the number of possible combinations of two dice is 6.7/1.2, or 21."



Chinese Domino Cards









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