In addition to their presence on tiles, bats can be found on Mahjong boxes. Sometimes bats are very easy to recognize, but often it is a bit harder because they are very stylized.
They can add ornamentation to the outside of the boxes.
This bat is fairly easy to recognize. It's on the front of a red lacquer box.
From the same red box, here is another one
Yes, it does look like a butterfly, but it seems that butterflies and bats often resemble each other in Chinese art. The lack of antennae make it more likely that it is a bat.
And bats like these are found around the top of the box:
wrapping around the edge from the top to the sides.
This bat is the drawer pull for a front panel; pulling the panel upward ( by holding the bat's body) reveals the drawers inside the box.
This ornate brass bat is on the side of a very special box.
Boxes like this are used for holding counters and dice. Here are some photos pulled from ebay:
You can see the four bats around the edge of the box
and along the sides. The bats on this box are completely endearing.
If a player was using this beautiful mother-of-pearl as a counter, she was very lucky indeed! Look up to the top and bottom middle of the counter. You will see a bat with outspread wings and striped body.
As always, if you have some photos you would like to add, please email me at
Here is a story that is a must read; it is not about boxes, but it is about bats and a Chinese vase. It just had to be included somewhere on the site, so it is here.