It’s Mah Jong Monday again and this time we’ll look at the suits.
There are three suits in a Mah Jong set:
- bamboo (sometimes referred to as bams)
- characters (sometimes referred to as craks)
- circles (sometimes referred to a dots)
Each suit has the numbers one to nine and an image. In Chinese sets the roman number is not shown only the picture.
4 of Each
There are four of each tile, 36 of each suit and a total of 108.
What can You do with them?
Suit tiles are the most flexible tiles in a hand and can be:
- konged or
What is a Chow?
It’s a run. For example: 1, 2, 3 in circles, seen below.
What is a Pung?
It is three of a kind. For example: 5 of bamboo seen below.
What is a kong?
It is four of a kind.
What is the significance of the suits?
It’s all about money.
“Because of the large size of the circle in the 1 Circle, it is commonly nicknamed da bing (大餅 pinyin dàbǐng, lit. big pancake).
From the monetary origin of this suit, the circles represent the copper coins known in English as “cash.” Wikipedia
“… the sticks are actually rope strings (索) that tie 100 Chinese copper coins together by the square holes in the middle. … The repeated bumps in the sticks depict the individual coins in the strings, but they were mistaken as the knots on the bamboo plants, hence the English name of the suit. The 1 Bamboo, as it commonly depicts a bird, is often referred as the sparrow (麻雀 – má què).” Wikipedia
“These tiles feature the character 萬 (wàn) on its surface, which means ’10,000.” Thoughtco.com Again it refers to money.
Feature Photo Credit:
Sandberg Elaine. Winning American Mah Jongg Strategies. Tuttle
Publishing, China. 2012
If you found this post interesting, check out the rest of my Mah Jong mini-series. I may write about it more in the future, but for now that’s it.
“Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.” ~ Confucius