Mahjong is a dominoes game popular in the Chinese cultural circle, which is derived from a Chinese strategy game with mostly four people.

Mahjong focuses on the skills, tactics and calculation, but also involves considerable luck ingredient. Mahjong requires memory rules and card type which are much more than the general poker. The cards of Mahjong are similar to each other with the same with the mahjong in Guangdong. The Mahjong in Guangdong has the longest history. The ancient mahjong was made of bone, bamboo and ivory. The modern mahjong is made of plastic. In addition to the mahjong cards and dice, the mahjong also has other props.

Sparrow Origin

The Mahjong is also known as the Sparrow Card which was the food brand protection originally. According to the records, a large royal granary stood in Taicang County, Jiangsu Province, which induced a lot of birds. The birds caused the losing of the food. In order to reward the people protecting the grain, the officials used the cards made of bamboo to record the number of the caught birds. The bamboo cards were engraved with various symbols and numbers which could be used as games and be used as the certification to get bonus. The three basic colors of mahjong were named myriad, bind and cylinder. The picture of cylinder was the cross section of the powder gun. Bind stands for the sparrows connected by thin line. So the number of the binds was the number of the birds. The last one myriad was the unit to get the reward money.

The Origin of Zheng He

During the Zheng He’s voyages, there were no entertainment activities. So the soldiers only could take the throw of the dice as a pastime. But in the voyage, they were tired and homesick. In order to stabilize the morale of the troops, Zheng He invented an entertainment tool. According to the fleet establishment, they carved 1-9 Tiao, and then according to the bucket number on the ship, they carved 1-9 bucket. Because of the wind direction, they inscribed the four corners of the world. In order to attract people’s eye, they also carved 1-9 myriad.


Mahjong has the unique game feature and sets the educational and fun thing together. Because of its charm, rich connotation and background, Mahjong has become an important part in Chinese traditional culture treasure. Mahjong sport is very popular in Chinese rural and urban area, which is ranged into all social classes, every field and thousands of households. Mahjong has become the largest and most influential intellectual sport activity in China. As a kind of Chinese traditional cultural phenomenon, Mahjong has its diversity in the form of performance. Since the Mahjong is very interesting, entertaining and educational, it is very popular among people. In 1920s, Mahjong was not only popular in Asia, but also popular in Europe and America. There are many books going into details about the playing Mahjong in foreign countries. Mahjong is one kind of recreational activities. The retired veteran comrades have leisure time to play a few laps to flourish their spirits. During holidays, all the families gather to play a few rounds of Mahjong, which is also permeated with the cheer of festival.

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