Tag Archives: painted mahjong box



This fabulous set did not last on ebay for long, (maybe half a minute?), but I thought I would be remiss not to share the photos of it with all of you who did not even get a chance to see it. To begin with, it is in unbelievable shape given that it is getting close to being 100 years old. It was made for export, as can be seen by the Arabic numbers and Western letters. The One Bam birds are among the prettiest I have ever seen. In China, eagles, falcons and hawks represent boldness. A hawk standing on one leg, as we have here, can be a rebus for "a hero stands alone, peerless," because the homophone for eagle is one of the two Chinese characters that comprise the word "hero" in Chinese. This bird is on a lotus; a lotus symbolizes purity and perfection because it "rises undefiled from impure muddy waters" ((Bjaaland Welch), and it is also a symbol of Buddhism.

One Dots like this always remind me of those wonderful Chinese porcelain decorative balls.


The Flowers are simple, and delicately carved.The top row from left to right are bindweed (?), lotus, peach, and oranges(?). The bottom row are the expected plants, associated with the seasons: plum blossom, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum.

And just look at the thickness of the bone:



As you may know, the thicker the bone, the more expensive, thus the more experienced and skilled the craftsmen who made them.

And just look at this wonderful box! The crane and the eagle are painted on the front panel.




Interesting that the set was updated, in all probability, by an owner, who placed the plastic counters in the drawer, adding a bit of personal history to the set.