08/04/2012 at 11:50 AM
660-670, China: First example of printing on paper. Early xylography was accomplished with hemp paper and woodblocks.
One of the earliest forms of playing cards in existence, perhaps the oldest, is Chinese Money Suited cards. Mah Jong (this version is paper) is the most readily available pattern of money suited cards in the west.
These cards are based on the concept of Chinese currency, with suits of Coins, Strings of Coins, and multiples thereof (depending on the pattern). Some scholars believe that the cards themselves were used as the prize won from gambling, while others believe that it may be descended from the Game of Leaves, an ancient Chinese role playing board game.