Tile Set History

Here we start with the history of the Mahjong(g)/Ma Que tile set, presented in six articles that originally appeared in The Playing-card, the journal of the International Playing Card Society. Each article deals with a particular point or period in time, shown in blue in the synopses below. Since this research is based on documentary evidence and inferences derived from it, I have given a comprehensive bibliography at the end of each article for the interested student of the game. Chinese characters (sinograms) appear in the texts where relevant. The final article deals with the development of the tile set suits from preceding money-suited playing cards.

‘Pre 1920 Names’ traces the names that were used for the game and the names of the playing cards from which it was most probably derived. Thus, I introduce a very important  18th century Chinese book on games, and its relevant text, that lends support to the hypothesis that the game was a development from a pre-existing 18th century card game, whose name was attached to the tile set game of the 19th century.

‘China to the West’ deals with The MAH-JONGG Company of China, how it was formed and by whom and how and when the individuals involved with this company introduced a variation of the Chinese game to the West. Fully illustrated and referenced and with additional patent information.

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