Vintage Bakelite Mahjong Set.
Offered here is a very unusual Vintage Bakelite Mahjong set. The thick, deep butterscotch-colored Bakelite tiles are housed in a 5-drawewr wooden chest with brass drawer pulls. The cabinet measures 9-3/8″ x 6-1/4″ by 6-1/4″ tall. The chest is adorned with brass corners and handles.
Also included are blue and green stained bone counters and two booklets on how to play and score Mahjong. These booklets would seem to date this Vintage Bakelite Mahjong set to around 1938. . The tiles are in excellent condition. The chest of drawers is in very good condition.
Mahjong, also spelled majiang, mah jongg, and numerous other variants, is a game that originated in China. It is commonly played by 4 players (with some 3-player variations found in South Korea and Japan). The game and its regional variants are widely played throughout Eastern and South Eastern Asia and have a small following in Western countries. Similar to the Western card game rummy, Mahjong is a game of skill, strategy, and calculation and involves a degree of chance.
The game is played with a set of 144 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols, although some regional variations use a different number of tiles. In most variations, each player begins by receiving 13 tiles. In turn players draw and discard tiles until they complete a legal hand using the 14th drawn tile to form 4 groups (melds) and a pair (head). There are fairly standard rules about how a piece is drawn, how a piece is stolen from another player and thus melded, the use of simples (numbered tiles) and honors (winds and dragons), the kinds of melds, and the order of dealing and play. However, there are many regional variations in the rules; in addition, the scoring system and the minimum hand necessary to win varies significantly based on the local rules being used.
For an excellent treatise on the History of Mahjong and an amazing collection, visit this outstanding site by Allen and Lila Weitz. The information is extremely well researched and presented.