Bamboo in Chinese Art and Mahjong Part 3


From the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art we have this beautiful scroll entitled Poetry Cottage, done in 1914. The setting for the house is quite lovely, nestled into the mountainside, surrounded by bamboo. You can almost hear the rustle of the plants as they move with the wind. The spot looks like a perfect place to inspire any artist.

In Chinese art there are many scenes of bamboo and other plants and trees near a house or a window, and those images are seen on our Mahjong tiles too, but might be easily overlooked.



Above we have some hand carved Chinese Bakelite tiles. The lower row has images of ladies, and outside the windows there are plants growing. Look at tile #3. We see bamboo, and we have the corresponding Chinese character right above it.



Above is another set of Chinese Bakelite tiles, this time showing eight ladies, some of whom may be dancing or at least the bottom row looks that way. Look at the top row: one lady is looking out her window, and what does she see? A bamboo stalk! Once again it is tile #3, but this is not always the case.



But it is still the case here!

So you can see how these artists worked in the bamboo theme into the scenes on the tiles, so that the four plants representing the four seasons (plum blossom, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum, as seen above in that order ) could be featured on the tiles.