A new booklet describing a somewhat unusual bone & bamboo Mah-Jong set bought on ebay and how it was used to create a variety of products from greeting cards to posters.
At last there is a way to play Mah-Jong online with others using British rules…† . The reason is that this new game app, Mahjong Friends Online, “lets you play any style of Mahjong with your friends”.
† …and a way to get some relief from the constraints that Covid has put on our game
Covid has had a huge effect on Mah-Jong, but there are still some ways to play. One way you might consider (if you are a couple in the same home) is the two-player game.
Mah-Jong suit tiles are derived from an earlier Chinese game, played with cards, which showed different denominations of ancient Chinese cash.
It was Joseph Babcock, the man credited with introducing the game to the West, who apparently called these tiles ‘Dragons’. The Chinese think of them differently, and this may be a better explanation of the designs…
Some of the more interesting designs are found on the Flower and Season tiles which, unlike their modern counterparts, do not actually show flowers or depict seasons, except elliptically.
The set came in a small wooden box with some Chinese characters carved into the sliding lid. I’d assumed they had some connection to Mah-Jong but recently discovered it was a poem.
Inside I found a layer of tissue paper and, strangely, tiles covered in dust.