Tag Archives: scott d. miller


From the most recent issue of Mahjong News and written by Scott D. Miller:

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 12.18.27 PM


Care to play bones, anyone?

ORLANDO, Florida – Lurking in the dreary lobby of the haunted Hollywood / Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride in Disney’s Hollywood Studios lays dormant a terrifying game of unfinished mahjong. It’s participants fled following a mysterious lighting strike at exact 8:05 PM October 31st 1939 that vanished several unfortunate guests.


A ghostly game of mahjong with four dead hands.

Even more terrifying than the mysterious disappearance of the hotel guests is that every single one of the hands in the mahjong game is a dead hand! Ahhhh!

Well, that was true when that top photo was taken, but Disney tour guides now claim that the hands have been reshaped by “professional” mahjong players to be an accurate portrayal of a mahjong game in mid-play, and should the mysterious guests ever return, they could pick up where they left off.


All your hands belong to us.

With the joker tiles on the table, and flower tiles being held in the concealed hand, they could only have been playing National Mah-Jongg League rules. Assuming the dice indicate East and counting the melded pung of 3-dots she has on the table, East holds fourteen tiles and is waiting to discard. All this is acceptable, but not even the NMJL rules can account for the bizarrely melded pair of Souths and melded pair of red dragons on the near edge of the table. Is she playing with eighteen tiles in the hand and melding pairs? Ignoring the similarly unexlicable melds for the rest of the players, South at least currently holds the proper number of thirteen tiles in the hand, but West still has only twelve tiles, and North has only nine! The horror!

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Wow – a great review on our book just came out from             Mahjong News

Sunday 09 November 2014

New Book Release Showcases the Art of Mah Jongg!


Book front cover.

Book Review – Mah Jongg: The Art of the Game

Example mah-jongg rack closeup

Example rack close up.

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.


Example Majong leisure

Flower tiles illustrating leisure.

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.

Tuttle Publishing