Wow – a great review on our book just came out from Mahjong News…
New Book Release Showcases the Art of Mah Jongg!
Book Review – Mah Jongg: The Art of the Game
- Written by Scott D. Miller
BOOK REVIEW – Ann M. Israel and Gregg Swain note in their introduction that there are few books that showcase the beauty and artistic nature of the Mah Jongg tiles, and so that is what she and her collaborators set out to create, and they succeeded in exquisite style.
From Tuttle Publishing comes this absolutely gorgeous book ‘Mah Jongg: The Art of the Game’, by Ann M. Israel and Gregg Swain, with photographs by Michel Arnaud, packed with over 190 pages of beautiful illustrations showcasing the occidental experience of Mah Jongg through tiles both rare and exotic, printed in Hong Kong and copyrighted 2014.
Culminating the collective knowledge, sets, and resources of their many collaborators, the authors have assembled a stunning array of Mah Jongg sets from collectors and historians from around the world. By tapping many renowned Western Mah Jongg historians like Michael Stanwick, and experts like Tom Sloper, Woody Swain, Katherine Hartman, Dee Gallo and Bill Price, they have succeeded in surrounding the rare and intriguing photographs with rich text, history, and embellishments that make this book a treasure in any household.
When taking in the aesthetics of the tiles on display, one notices the tiles by and large represent those sets as imported to the West, with their Arabic numeral with Roman letter details and typical “American” dimensions. The variety on display is most unexpected, including not just the usual materials such as bone, bamboo, wood, ivory, Bakelite, Catalin, and paper, but some of these rare and collectible sets are even made of materials that defy identification. Just as beautiful as the tiles within are the boxes that hold them, drawing their carved inspiration from Southeast Asian motifs among temples, the ocean, man’s industry and nature.
Using a mix of historical black and white with contemporary full color exhibitions, the authors unravel through their pages Mah Jongg’s history, lore, art, beauty and fantasy into one of the most extensive displays of Western Mah Jongg art and accessories as one will probably ever see.
Mah Jongg: The Art of the Game by Ann M. Israel and Gregg Swain.
Photographs by Michel Arnaud.