Another especially beautiful bone and bamboo mahjong set can be seen here. The colors are lovely and subdued. The One Bam has a sweet bird perched in what might be plum blossoms, given the attention paid to the five leaves on the lower flower. As is typical, the bird has one foot raised. The other Bams are of the barbed variety, but these seem to resemble architectural elements. Interestingly, the One Bam has green numbers but the other Bams have blue.
On this close up you can see the attention paid to the bird, to the tree branches and the leaf and flower buds. You will often see birds perched on or near rocks in Chinese art. The Metropolitan Museum has some in its collection; here is one such example.
You can see the bird on the rock, and the lovely flowering plant, similar to what we have on the One Bam.
Here the Craks have the elaborate Wan, blue Chinese numbers and green Arabic numbers.
The Dots are the elaborately carved floral variety. The One Dot is the flower within a flower, and the 2 Dot is an eight petaled flower. It may just be coincidence (but in Chinese design, very little is) but the number 8 is very lucky in China, and is associated with prosperity. The rest of the Dots have six petals. Once again we have a different color on the #1 than on the other numbers.
The other tiles will be discussed tomorrow.
We are indebted to Mahjongmahjong for the photographs of this lovely set. To see more from their collection, please click here
To read more about the significance of numbers in China, click here.
To see more of the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of art, click here