Exquisite Mother-of-pearl


A reader sent this photo along with the translations of the Flower tiles, and it seemed a wonderful way to start off the new year.

These beautiful mother-of-pearl tiles are delicately carved. Because of the nature of the material, the craftsman had to be very skilled and able to work with small delicate strokes. Be sure to really study the photo so that you can see the precision of each bit of carving.

The paint colors are unusual, and perfect for the richness of the mother-of-pearl surface.

Two tiny tacks located diagonally across from each other affix each thin wafer to its tile back.

The Red tiles are Chinese scholarly pursuits

1. Qin -The guqin -a Chinese stringed instrument
2. Qi - Chinese chess
3.Shu- Calligraphy
4.Hua - Painting

Gold tiles the seasons:-

1.Chun -Spring
2. Xia- Summer
3.Qiu- Autumn
4.Dong- Winter


For more information about mother-of-pearl you can click on this wiki link


Beautiful mahjong photographs can be seen in my book, written with Ann Israel:


You can order the book here:


or here



3 thoughts on “Exquisite Mother-of-pearl

    1. Ray Heaton

      I have seen just one other set such as this, but most of the colour had been lost. I think the set shown here is outstanding!

  1. Tony Watson

    I fondled this set last time I was at Bill's house - it is MUCH better in the flesh!
    I think this is a German production, the cross-hatching on the Winds, Dragons & Craks is not something the Chinese would do IMHO.

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