Game, Ma Chong
Game, Ma Chong

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Collection Tier:
Tier 2

Game, Ma Chong

Wood case with red tone finish. The sides of the case are tacked together under decorative brass plates. There are also two brass handles on the top center of the case. The case interior has five slots and four drawers. The case is closed by a sliding wood panel. Each drawer has a small round bone handle. Stored in the drawers are the game pieces. Most are shaped like dominoes. There are also some thin stick-like pieces and a cylinder-shaped container with some round flat pieces.

Ma Chong or Mahjong (directly translated as "sparrow") traces its roots to 19th century China. The game continues to be popular in Asia to the present day. Mahjong sets were first imported in to the United States by Abercrombie and Fitch during the 1920s.

Mah-Jongg is a game for four individual players. "Mah-Jongg" (or in English "Sparrows") has been played in China since the days of Confucius. It is supposed to have originated in Canton or Ningpo. The place of origin is not certain, but the game is now played all over China. The game is played with a set of 136 pieces, which are similar to dominoes, of bamboo and ivory engraved in color. There are 34 different kinds of pieces and four of each kind make up the set. These 34 types of pieces are made up as follows: First, there are the three suits, designated by "Bamboo," "Dots," and "Characters," and called by Chinese, respectively, "tiao," tung," and "wan". The pieces of each suit are numbered one to nine. In the three suits there are 27 different kinds of pieces, four alike of each kind, making a total of 108. In addition there are the four winds, a piece each named East, South, North and West. There are also three special honor pieces the "Red Dragon," "Green Dragon" and the "White Dragon". This information is taken from the Rule Book for the game set with accession number 117211. Copyright information is as follows from the English printed rule book: Copyright 1920, by J. P. Babcock, Copyright in Great Britian, All rights reserved, Printed in the USA, First printing September 1920, Second Printing December 1921.
circa 1925
Etched, Wood, Metal, Bone, Bamboo
6.25" h 7.49" w 7.5" d
Current Location Status:
In Storage
Gift Of James D. Haldaman

Investigate: Toys & Games (June 2018)
During the Investigate program, students will take the role of Museum curators and use close observation and critical thinking to discover the origin, meaning, and importance of real objects from the Museum’s Collection. Students will learn how to handle and study primary sources and will be pushed to consider how singular objects or groups of objects can tell meaningful stories about our place.

  • Students will be able to analyze primary sources (artifacts and photographs) and make inferences about the story or significance of the sources.
  • Students will make inferences about the value or learning lesson of various toys and games that have existed across time and cultures.
Curriculum Connections:
  • NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: Constructing Explanations; Engaging in Argument from Evidence
  • MIchigan K-12 Social Studies Standards: H2 Living and Working Together in Families and Communities, Now and Long Ago, G4 Human Systems, P1 Reading and Communication, P2 Inquiry Research and Analysis

Haldaman, James D.
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