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.
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.