Orchid: A Celebration of Spring

Met Ma Lin circa 1200

It is finally feeling like spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and thoughts do turn to beautiful flowers; few are more lovely than orchids. The Chinese love orchids, and consider them to be among the four most important plants, the others being bamboo, chrysanthemum and plum blossom. And in China, the orchid is the plant associated with spring.

The ink drawing above is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is believed to have been done by Ma Lin around 1200. It is not so very different in design from those Mahjong Flower tiles that feature orchids. Today's post will be just a short introduction, with more next week.


These wood tiles are thought to be French-made, although the words on them are in English. They are very similar to some made by the Galleries Lafayette.  You can see a very stylized orchid in the 3rd row, the third tile from the left.



Above we see a beautiful purple orchid on tile #2, top row.



We end with this beautiful orchid, one of the stars of the orchid show at the New York Botanical Garden.

We thank mahjongmahjong for allowing us the use of the photograph of the lovely Flowers just above this photograph.

4 thoughts on “Orchid: A Celebration of Spring

  1. Tony Watson

    That wooden set is lovely; unusual proportions, but nice to see the pillow effect - it shows that some time and effort went into their creation. Do you know if they are painted, carved or impressed? I'm guessing painted, as carving across the grain is difficult to get a clean cut, plus there seems to be no bleeding of paint into the grain, and I see no tearing, as happens with impressed designs.

  2. Tony Watson

    Am I correct in thinking the mahjongmahjong tiles are Antler, rather than bone? Seems to be a very different structure to the usual Haversian lines we normally see...

Comments are closed.