Tag Archives: China


WOW!!! You can find this fabulous Mah Jongg club in Hangzhou, China. But, this is what we need here in New York…and California…and everywhere else! If only…Photo thanks to Frank Du.


Here’s another photo found by the wonderful Toby Salk and this one is quite historic. From The Great Mahjong Book: History, Lore, and Play by Jelte Rep we learn that our beloved game was brought to our shores in 1920 by Joseph P. Babcock, an expat working for Standard Oil while living in Shanghai. Babcock and his wife were great lovers of the mystical Chinese tile game. Here is a bio of Babcock by Jelte Rep:

And here is the historic photo that Toby found…It is Joseph P. Babcock and his wife enjoying an evening of Mah-Jongg with their friends…we might be living almost 100 years later since the game came to America but we recreate this scene daily (maybe without the formal evening clothes!).


Although I’ve seen more comfortable seats, here is a picture of an actual Chinese Mah Jongg table and stools sent to us by our dear friend Peggy; the photos were taken during her recent trip to China. This outdoor Mah Jongg table was found in the Grand Mosque in Xian, China. img_1179And, while in Shanghai, Peggy was able to watch an actual game in progress.img_1237Sounds as if Peggy had a great time on her trip to China – can’t wait to get all the details and hopefully some more photos to share with you.


Sunday’s edition of The New York Times had an article about the Jews in China…and guess what the paper zeroed in on…screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-4-46-55-pmCould these be our relatives?!

To read the entire article, go here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/25/world/asia/china-kaifeng-jews.html


A few days ago I was scrolling around on the Internet and came across this article from 2014 in an online newsletter (ECNS.cn) that was about Mah Jongg “expanding to every corner of the world.” It sounded interesting to me so I started reading and guess what…I am quoted in several places throughout the article…who knew? Totally exciting! I must say that I got a kick out of the statement that Mah Jongg was invented in China “roughly two millennia ago.” Um…instead, how about that the game was invented in China maybe a little over two hundred years ago!!! 

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I was catching  up on Pinterest today which led me to Etsy where I found something very interesting – an opportunity to purchase an original Mahjong game by the Deshler Purchasing Agency of Shanghai from around 1923. This is not a tile set but rather, a very early version of Mah Jongg played with cards. All the regular suits, honors, winds, etc., are part of the game but they are made of paper instead of the material we usually see from sets made in China such as bone and bamboo. I found this particularly interesting because it is the Deshler set that is pictured in my new book, Mah Jongg: The Art of the Game (always happy to get in a plug for the book!):

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