The suit that we call “Craks” is also known as “Characters.” Tiles in this suit – just like the Bams and the Dots – are numbered from 1 – 9 and are interpreted below from an Oracle’s point of view.
This is the third and final suit of the three suits (Bamboo – or Bams – and Circles – or Dots – being the others) and is usually known to us as the “signs” suit. Its symbol “Wan” literally means “ten thousand” although it can also be taken to mean any large number or unlimited. The significance of “ten thousand” is taken to mean the entire universe, the entire world, or eternity. The Wan suit therefore represents abstract ideals rather than everyday living.
The Chinese have three different characters to represent “ten thousand”. The classical character that is used represents a scorpion, but since this is a complex character to write, a second abbreviated form is also in use. The third character that is used is the swastika, often used in Buddhist religious texts to represent the “ten thousand things” that symbolize the heart of the Buddha (not quite what it came to represent in Germany’s Third Reich!).
Chinese Character: “Ju”
Represented by the Chinese character for one and resembling the bar of a door. Therefore the significance is of a barrier being lifted, or a door being opened, bringing new opportunities ahead.
Chinese Character: “Chien”
Symbolized by the sword. A double-edged sword denotes a balance or a decision. It can therefore represent the joining together or the severance of something, for example, in relation to people or an event. Either way it indicates that something is held in balance and that no progress can be made until a decision is made. The sword is associated with the season Autumn, the West Wind, the element metal, and the color white.
Chinese Character: “Ti”
Represented by the Earth, one of the five elements of Chinese philosophy. It symbolizes the fixed center and does not therefore belong to any season or compass direction. This tile represents the Earth element’s attributes which include stability; more generally it is interpreted to mean land, estate, wide open spaces, or the countryside.
Chinese Character: “Ch’in”
Symbolized by the lute and representing the performing arts. It is a symbol of music, leisure and relaxation – a time for enjoyment after a day or lifetime’s work.
Chinese Character: “Fang”
Represented by the symbol of a house and meaning any building, for example, a home, place of business, administrative offices, school or hospital. The symbol essentially represents a physical building rather than an organization or society.
Chinese Character: “Huo”
Symbolized by the element fire and the third element in the five elements of Chinese philosophy. It represents the personal attributes of intelligence and inspiration. This tile above all others in the Mah Jongg set provide the greatest warning of danger. It can indicate the burning up of resources – mental, physical, and financial. It can also (when associated with certain other tiles) indicate an accident to a person or property.
Chinese Character: “Tuo”
Represented by the “seven stars” and indicating imagination. The “seven stars” denote the seven stars that make up the constellation of the Plough – part of the Great Bear of Western astronomy. This constellation was believed to be the seat of the gods and was particularly associated with literary excellence in ancient Chinese mythology. Consequently this tile can represent writing, mathematics, or literature. The essential qualities represented by this tile are therefore hope, imagination, and literary excellence.
Chinese Character: “Chieh”
The most enigmatic of all the tiles and represented by a knot. A knot can represent the tying or untying of something, related to persons or an event.
Chinese Character: “Tien”
Represented by Heaven and symbolizing completion but not necessarily an end because as one cycle closes, another begins. It therefore represents achievement and fulfillment.
Thanks to The World of Webring for these interpretations.