Tag Archives: Pung Chow


S1 has a friend with an interesting Pe-Ling set. It says on the box, “Senior Set”…I wonder what that means? Could it be that this was made for people of a certain age…

I did a little research on Pe-Ling and, although it looks just like an inexpensive Mah Jongg set, apparently Pe-Ling tried to advertise itself as something different from the game we know and love. What I really think is that Pe-Ling was just another name for the mysterious and exotic game of Mah Jongg, similar to all those other names such as Man Chu, Mah Diao, Ma Chong, Pung Chow, Ching Chong, Kong Chow, Mah Deuck, Mah Cheuk, Ma Chiang, Mah Lowe, Game of Four Winds, The Ancient Game of the Mandarins, and Ma Jiang, just to name a few!

Perhaps some of you out there can enlighten us further on Pe-Ling. Here is what I was able to learn:

The manufacturer might have tried to convince people that the game rules were unique but I don’t believe that is the case. This was one of those sets that were manufactured for the American market around the mid-1920s and, as I wrote above, was probably a very inexpensive set. Fun to see but not worth much especially now with the box in horrible shape and the tiles looking filthy (although that shouldn’t take away from its value – they can always be cleaned) and not of any exotic or beautiful material. However, there is no question that the suits and other tiles are definitely of interesting designs.

That is not the One Bam shown here with the Bam suit – the Green Dragon is in its place in these photos. It appears that the One Bam is mixed in with the Flowers although, unfortunately, it is very hard to see those tiles in the photos that were sent to S1; you can get a glimpse of the One Bam in the third picture below. 

It does seem that all the tiles are there…there are 144 tiles, including all the suits we would normally find – Bams, Dots, and Craks plus Winds, Dragons, and Flowers plus counting sticks and other accessories. Its makeup certainly looks like a typical Mah Jongg set to me!  And, even though this set is not exactly in pristine condition, I find it very interesting that the included Pe-Ling booklet looks to be very well preserved.




IMG_4949I would love to know more about Pe-Ling – if any of you have some information please send it to me so I can share it with everyone.

And, most important of all to me…what does “Senior Set” mean?!!!


I am delighted to announce that my new book, MAH JONGG – The Art of the Game, is  now
available for pre-order at a special price on Amazon.com. This coffee table book is being
published by Tuttle Publishing and will be available on September 9, 2014. I wrote the book with
my dear friend and very talented writing partner Gregg Swain and we are fortunate enough to
have photographs by the incredibly gifted Michel Arnaud.
Before we introduce today’s teacher by the name of The Mahjong Lady, I want to thank my
wonderful friend K for clearing up the mystery of the Bams from yesterday. Here is
what she had to say:

Sweet set! Have a closer look, the all green painted bamboo tile has 6 pieces of bamboo, the bamboo pieces just are not separated. The bamboo tile with the red, blue and green has 9 pieces of bamboo, also no separation in the bamboo pieces. Just count the lines and you can tell the 6 bam from the 9 bam. In this case it is just a little bit harder to see, the different color in the paint sure helps.

Thanks, K!

photo 4

Today’s posting features a very talented and creative Mah Jongg teacher by the name of Ling
(Lin) Maris, aka The Mahjong Lady! She teaches American NMJL but will also teach you Wright
Patterson if you have an interest.
More about her creativity in a moment but first, a little history. Ling started out teaching the
Wright Patterson game of Mah Jongg. As she explains it,
“Any time you want to learn Wright Patterson,  I would be delighted to teach you. This is how I
originally started teaching.  It is an entirely different game of mahjong than League style.

There are no jokers, legal hands are listed in a book which generally does not change more than every 5-10 years.    It is not played with flowers in the hands, but the flowers give bonus’ and the scoring system is like the complex  Chinese scoring system.  I believe WP is the game imported to the US originally –   that first popularized mahjong in the USA – so it is probably  mahjong American style about 1914-15.

Now,  I believe it is quite popular with the various branches of armed forces because of its long length uniformity.  Wherever one is stationed, you will play mahjong the same with very few changes occurring. (No new card every year). The problem with this style-no matter how interesting,   is that few people realize it exists. No one really plays it unless you have some exposure to a base or are from the south.  I learned it from a southern  army brat because it was the game of the officers wives and she learned from her mother.

I began teaching WP, thinking it was a whole new undiscovered mahjong territory  – to discover I had more requests for League mah-jongg. Everyone wanted to play what their neighbor was playing – not this exotic “not real” mahjong. So I became a League style teacher and it blossomed.”

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photo 5

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am over the moon for Pung Chow Mah Jongg sets.  Pung Chow was a company based in Worcester, Massachusetts (with another factory in New York) and only in existence for 3 years from 1922 – 1925 before declaring bankruptcy. But in those three short years they manufactured some very unusual and very beautiful Mah Jongg sets. Although they made sets out of wood, I am crazy about the two-toned pyralin tiles with their ivory colored fronts and shiny black backs. And the Flowers are just too fabulous – the little men, sometimes just outlined in black but every once in a while beautifully colored. Here are three identical sets in sweet black boxes with four small drawers holding the counters and other accessories and then one large drawer holding the tiles.

photo 1


These three sets have the black outlined Flowers. But of course, the trademarked Silver Dragon can be found in any and all Pung Chow sets. And the shiny black backs are part of the Pung Chow two-toned look.

photo 3

The Dots are beautiful and the One Bam is the swooping crane that I have discussed previously – with just a hint of a smile on its face. The pyralin substance really does simulate the color of ivory and it maintains its color over time.

photo 2

photo 1



I was still in the hospital recovering from knee replacement surgery when my dear friend alerted me to this early Pung Chow set up for sale. I hear the words “Pung Chow” and nothing stops me – not even languishing away in a hospital bed! – so by the time I arrived back home, this new purchase was already waiting for me.

photo 1 photo 2

As always, the White Dragon was the Pung Chow-trademarked silver and the One Bam is the delightful swooping crane.


But of particular interest to me are the charming Flowers:



No question about it, this was a very wonderful welcome home package!



We all know that I am over the moon for Pung Chow so let’s take a look at another set that is so much like my favorite PC set but without the colored Flowers as shown here: cropped-header

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Yesterday was my turn to host again and, although three people from the OMs (Original Mahjettes) were unable to attend, we still pulled together our weekly game. X and S2 (we have an S1 and an S2, in no particular order) were able to play but we were missing J (meetings interfered!), K (on safari!), and S1 (still enjoying sunny California). Our good friends D and G joined us for lunch and lots of games.

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