CHAO – Dynasties of China, An Imperial Deck of Playing Cards

See our Kickstarter campaign here.

Playing cards of China redefined. A new illustration featuring key historical figures from Ancient China on a new limited edition deck.

CHAO playing cards

The ChaoThe Chao

China's extraordinary history dates back to more than 5000 years and provides a rich collection of royal subjects which forms the basis of the Chao Playing Cards (limited production run of 12k each).

Over the lengthy span of Chinese history, each Chao (which is the pronounced word for dynasty in the Chinese language) is distinguished by the name and the impact of the individuals that ruled over that period of time. This very special and unique deck of cards pays tribute to four of the greatest and most recognized dynasties in Chinese history – Han, Tang, Ming and Qing. Each dynasty has an outstanding and reputable Emperor, Empress and General, each with their own notorious traits and fascinating stories. The Chao depict these influential men and women that were renowned and celebrated from each of the four famous dynasties.

The Chao

CHAO playing cards

Four EmperorsFour Emperors

To ensure we captured the essence of each dynasty, we invested a lot of time and resource into the research part of this project. The illustrations and design takes inspiration from not only the renowned rulers of the four Dynasties but also from Chinese culture itself, which is visible throughout the deck.

Four Emperors

The chosen Chinese Emperors, Empresses and Generals all represent great power, wealth and wisdom, each with different traits and personalities and each dynasty holds their own trademarks to differentiate them from others. Inspired by these different elements, each Emperor features distinct clothing and accessories from their era, Empress's have different hair pieces and holds the instrument that they played and Generals wear armor and yield the weapon used to fight in their notorious battles. Fine intricate details are added onto each court card, allowing each individual to possess different facial features which best reflects their character.

The Chao was designed to closely follow that of a traditional deck of cards in terms of positioning including head facing direction, hand placements and the presence of weapons and artifacts.

Card BackCard Back

Gold Foil StampingGold Foil Stamping

The 4 aces includes very detailed Chinese patterns. We also added a Chinese dragon on the ace of spades – a symbolism of imperial power and strength.

Ace of SpadesAce of Spades

Ace CardsAce Cards

Each suit i.e. Spades, Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds reflects one of the four chosen dynasties (Han, Tang, Ming and Qing), with a renowned Emperor, Empress and General from that dynasty representing the King, Queen and Jack. Choosing who or what to use to represent the Jokers was not a straight forward task as we wanted these 2 very important cards to have some significant value so we chose 2 very important figures which are still looked very highly upon even up until this present day.


JokerNumbered Cards

CHAO playing cards

Made in the People's Republic of China

The Chao playing cards represents the History of China and where better to produce this deck than in China itself.

This is not just any ordinary deck of cards from China, but a completely new limited edition deck (only 12k of each will be produced) manufactured by MPC in terms of design and materials. We broke down the elements that make a great deck of cards and re-engineered it in its entirety from card stock finishing to varnishing used. The card stock is a new much lighter card stock which was specifically developed to obtain a perfect balance between the softness and stiffness needed to excel in performance such as for cardistry, magic tricks and handling. The new varnishing was a monumental part to this project which has been in development over the past 2 years. It took longer than we wanted but it was completely worth the time and investment. The outcome is truly exceptional. I guess you will have to try it to feel the unique difference of this newly engineered deck. As this deck is a limited edition, once it runs out, that'll be it. If we have any more decks left after this project, they will be sold at a higher price on our website until they run out.

CHAO playing cards

Linen AirLinen Air

Linen AirLinen Air

CHAO playing cards

The tuck box completes the overall aesthetics of the deck and come in a carefully chosen choice of two significant and representative colors of China, porcelain blue and vermilion red. Embossing and gold foil stamping is used to symbolize wealth and royalty.

CHAO playing cards

Tuck BoxTuck Box

Made in the People's Republic of ChinaMade in the People's Republic of China

CHAO playing cards

JokerDouble Deck Box

Prototype of the sticker seal on tuck box. The text is the name of our mother company QP Group with a traditional Chinese red ink stamp design.

JokerTuck Box Seal

The limited edition 'Introduction of Chao' Booklets featuring the 12 renowned royals on court cards, are exclusively included for our Kickstarter backers who pledge the double deck box set and brick box sets.

JokerIntroduction Booklet

JokerTuck Box Seal

Limited Edition CHAO T-Shirts \Who wants a really cool black t-shirt bearing the Chao design? We made one for team and it looks really smart so we’ve decided to open it up to everyone else too. Yours for only $19. Please add the amount to your pledge and let us know your size when we send out the survey at the end of the project.

JokerCHAO T-Shirts

Chao Gold Coin

We’ve been working on this one for a bit now and it’s finally ready. A majestic Chao embossed gold metal coin (with a good weight to it). This is great for coin magic tricks and also definitely a limited edition production from MPC, completely exclusive to our Chao deck backers on Kickstarter.

JokerCHAO T-Shirts


While we’d like for all backers to get one, due to the cost to make this beautiful gold Chao coin (even though it’s not real gold), we can only give it for free to all backers of $45 and above. Having said that, if we can reach some stretch goals as below then the production costs can come down as a result of a larger production and more people can get the coin. Alternatively, you can add $5 per coin as an add-on.

- At present, we'll be able to give 1 to each and every backer of $45 and above.

- Stretch goal of $35K, we'll be able to give 1 to each and every backer of $25 and above and 2 to each backer of $90 and above.

- Stretch goal of $45K, we'll be able to give 1 to each and every backer of $13 and above and 2 to each backer of $80 and above.

CHAO playing cards

Tuck BoxTuck Box

The Chao Playing Cards are designed and manufactured by (MPC), a professional playing cards manufacturer with over 40 years of experience specializing in custom playing cards and game cards. We are very proud to introduce the Chao Playing Cards, the first of its kind, brought to you by MPC.

Pledge list Pledge breakdown

Add-ons list Add-ons list

Over 40 Years in the Games Printing Industry. No minimum order!