Collections
Other Name
MAHJONG SET
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
PLASTIC
Catalogue Number
P20150028000
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
MAHJONG SET
Date
1987
Materials
PLASTIC
No. Pieces
159
Height
9.6
Length
23
Width
23
Description
A – G: 7 STANDARD 6-SIDED DICE. 6 OF THE DICE HAVE BLACK DOTS ON A WHITE BACKGROUND, EXCEPT RED DOTS FOR THE ONE AND THE FOUR ON ALL DICE. THE SEVENTH DIE IS THE SAME AS THE FIRST SIX BUT WITH BROWN DOTS INSTEAD OF BLACK. THE DICE ARE 1.4 CM CUBED WITH ROUNDED EDGES. GOOD CONDITION: NORMAL WEAR FROM USE. H-I: A DIRECTIONAL PIECE CUBE (LIKE A DIE) AND A HOLDER. THERE ARE RED CHINESE CHARACTERS ON 4 OF THE 6 SIDES OF THE WHITE CUBE. THE DIE IS 1.2 CM CUBED. THE PIECE’S CIRCULAR HOLDER HAS A RED TOP AND A WHITE BASE WITH A CUBE INSERT IN THE CENTER OF THE TOP THAT FITS THE DIRECTIONAL PIECE. THE HOLDER IS IN FAIR TO GOOD CONDITION. IT IS WELL WORN AND THE EDGES ARE YELLOWING. FAIR TO GOOD CONDITION WITH SOME WEAR TO THE CHARACTERS AND THE CORNERS OF THE DIE. J-BBBBBBB: MAHJONG GAME SET. 144 TILES PLUS 4 BLANK SPARES (148 TILES TOTAL). THERE ARE 108 SIMPLE TILES (OF THE 3 SUITS: DOTS, BAMBOO, AND CHARACTERS), THERE ARE 28 HONOURS TILES (16 WINDS AND 16 DRAGONS), AND THERE ARE TWO SETS OF BONUS TILES (FLOWERS AND SEASONS) EACH WITH 4 TILES IN THE SET. EACH TILE IS 3.5 X 2.8 X 2.1 CM. VERY GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION WITH SLIGHT SCUFFING ON THE TILES. CCCCCCC – DDDDDDD: GREEN RUBBERMAID PLASTIC CONTAINER WITH A WHITE PLASTIC LID FOR THE MAHJONG SET’S CASE. THE BOTTOM OF THE CONTAINER READS “RUBBERMAID 4 QUARTS” “J-3204”. THE DIMENSIONS OF THE CONTAINER ARE 23 X 23 X 9.6 CM. THE DIMENSIONS OF THE LID ARE 23 X 24.5 X 1.5 CM. GOOD CONDITION. THE OVERALL SURFACE OF BOTH THE CONTAINER AND THE LID ARE SCRATCHED. ON THE LID, THE TOP COATING OF PLASTIC IS PEELING OFF. THERE IS ADHESIVE TAPE RESIDUE IN ONE CORNER.
Subjects
GAME
Historical Association
ETHNOGRAPHIC
LEISURE
History
ON NOVEMBER 10, 2015, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED RICHARD LOO AT THE GALT MUSEUM REGARDING A MAHJONG SET HE WAS DONATING TO THE MUSEUM. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION HAS BEEN EXTRACTED FROM THAT INTERVIEW: MAHJONG IS A TILE-BASED GAME THAT ORIGINATED IN CHINA. LOO RECALLS ACQUIRING THE SET APPROXIMATELY 30 OR 40 YEARS AGO. HE SAID HE GOT THEM, “WHEN I WENT BACK TO HONG KONG. LET’S SEE – ’87. I WENT TO HONG KONG IN ’87. I BOUGHT SEVERAL [MAHJONG] SETS… TO GIVE TO THE KIDS IF THEY WERE INTERESTED. HERE, THEY ARE NOT AVAILABLE – NOT IN THIS CITY. YOU CAN GET IT IN CALGARY, BUT, IF I BROUGHT IT BACK FROM CHINA, IT’S A BETTER DEAL FOR ME… I STILL HAVE A COUPLE OF SETS AT HOME. I GIVE SOME TO MY FRIENDS; SOME TO THE KIDS.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT HIS USE OF GAME SET, LOO EXPLAINED, “I USE IT NOT TOO MANY TIMES… THEY COME IN A CASE – LIKE A BRIEFCASE - JUST FLIMSY STUFF. IF IT WAS USED SO LONG, IT WOULD JUST GO IN PIECES. SO I PUT IT INTO CONTAINERS – KEEPS A BETTER SHAPE, THAT’S ALL.” HE EXPLAINS THAT THE GAME IS PLAYED, “MOSTLY AT HOME. TO FOOL AROUND; JUST TO KILL TIME,” AND THAT THE SET DONATED WAS A PERSONAL SET THAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN AT LOO’S HOUSE. “THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT STYLES OF PLAY. WHEN I CAME, IN THOSE DAYS, WE PLAYED A DIFFERENT WAY, AND AFTER YOU STAYED FOR A LITTLE WHILE, THEY PLAYED A DIFFERENT WAY… YOU PLAY THIS GAME MORE GENERALLY FOR ENTERTAINMENT, KILLING TIME; THE PURPOSE IS NOT TO MAKE MONEY… SEE, I REMEMBER THOSE DAYS, WHEN I WAS YOUNG – JUST A KID THOSE DAYS, IN THE OLD COUNTRY, OLD DAYS. IN THE NEW YEAR, I SAW FOUR OLDER GENTLEMEN PLAY THESE GAMES, BUT I DON’T UNDERSTAND…. WE CALL IT OLD STYLE. NOBODY IS INTERESTED IN PLAYING OLD STYLE ANYMORE. [IT IS] QUITE COMPLICATED... THEY PLAY THIS ONE, JUST LIKE YOU PLAY RUMMY, BUT YOU HAVE TO USE YOUR HEAD A LITTLE BIT. SOMETIMES YOU’VE GOT LUCK TOO." LOO SAYS HE DOES NOT MISS PLAYING THE GAME, “FOR MY AGE, NO. RIGHT NOW, NOT INTERESTED - [I'VE] GOT OTHER THINGS TO DO. YOU PLAY FOR SO LONG, AND THEN, [YOU ARE] NOT INTERESTED ANYMORE. WE USED TO PLAY THIS ON NEW YEAR’S EVE, TILL THE NEXT MORNING. [WE WOULD] START ON NEW YEAR’S EVE TILL TOMORROW MORNING, 6 OR 7 O’CLOCK. NOT ANYMORE. WE PLAYED AT ALBERT’S PLACE, BOW ON TONG…” THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ABOUT RICHARD LOO HAS BEEN TAKEN FROM THE ARTIFACT RECORDS P20110031*: LOO ARRIVED IN LETHBRIDGE IN 1953, HAVING LEFT THE MAINLAND OF CHINA IN 1949. LOO'S GRANDFATHER HAD MOVED TO CANADA IN EITHER LATE 1800S OR THE EARLY 1900S AND HAD HAD TO PAY THE HEAD TAX. HIS GRANDFATHER WORKED AS A COOK IN RESTAURANTS, EITHER IN LETHBRIDGE OR IN TABER (ACCORDING TO LOO, HIS GRANDFATHER WORKED THROUGH THE WAR YEARS IN TABER). LOO’S GRANDFATHER HAD PLANNED ON MOVING BACK TO CHINA WHEN HE RETIRED, BUT THEN THE COMMUNISTS TOOK OVER, AND HE ELECTED TO STAY. AT THAT TIME, HE INVITED LOO TO MOVE TO LETHBRIDGE AS WELL. LOO LEFT HONG KONG, AFTER LIVING THERE FOR 8 MONTHS, ON A FRIDAY AFTERNOON AT 2PM LOCAL TIME. HE ARRIVED IN LETHBRIDGE SUNDAY AFTERNOON. HE WAS LUCKY IN THAT HE WAS ABLE TO GET HIS FLIGHTS ON SALE. NORMALLY A TICKET FROM HONG KONG TO VANCOUVER WOULD HAVE COST $700, BUT LOO WAS ABLE TO SECURE A FLIGHT FOR ONLY $500. HE ALSO INDICATED THAT HIS FLIGHT TO LETHBRIDGE WAS ONLY $39.95. ON RECALLING HIS FIRST TIME IN LETHBRIDGE, LOO RECOUNTED THE FOLLOWING STORY: “SO, BY THE TIME I GOT TO THE AIRPORT, I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO SAY [ANYTHING]. DIDN’T KNOW – MAYBE COULD SAY ‘GOOD MORNING’ – THAT’S ALL I COULD SAY, JUST HOW TO SAY ‘HELLO.' IN THE MEANTIME, THE FELLOW AT THE AIRPORT MUST HAVE KNOWN ZEKE, YOU KNOW ZEKE QUAN [OWNER OF] THE LOTUS INN [RESTAURANT], AND HE PHONED HIM UP. HE SAYS, ‘ZEKE.’ I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT – NOTHING. AND THEN HE SAYS, ‘HEY, THIS IS A CHINA BOY HERE. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH HIM?’ SO, ZEKE SAYS, ‘OH, JUST TAKE HIM TO CHINATOWN AND DUMP HIM.’ NOW, I DIDN’T KNOW THOSE, NOT UNTIL LATER ON. ZEKE’S SON GO TO SAME SCHOOL I DID – CENTRAL SCHOOL.” LOO INITIALLY LIVED IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE SOCIETY BUILDING FOR SEVERAL YEARS, OCCUPYING A ROOM THAT HAD BEEN RECENTLY VACATED BY ANOTHER MAN NAMED LOO WHO HAD GONE TO WORK IN PICTURE BUTTE. LOO RECALLED THAT THE SOCIETY WAS A GOOD PLACE TO FEEL A SENSE OF COMMUNITY AND THAT IT WAS A WELCOMING PLACE FOR NEW CHINESE IMMIGRANTS, A PLACE WHERE THEY WEREN’T DISCRIMINATED AGAINST. PLEASE SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION
Catalogue Number
P20150028000
Acquisition Date
2015-11
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail