Two young girls play mahjong almost 100 years ago. These girls are clearly playing at home rather than in a public or commercial situation.
We now live in an age when everything is collected – no niche activity is too obscure. Indeed, the more obscure the activity, the more dedicated is the collector! Mahjong, of course, is not actually an obscure activity in itself. It originated in China and is a game normally played by four players. It a game of skill, strategy and calculation but also involves a considerable degree of chance. It is usually played with a set of 144 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols (there are regional varaiations): each player, to begin, gets 13 tiles and players draw and discard further tiles. It is sometimes said that the Western card game ‘rummy’ shares a common origin with mahjong.
The game was imported into the United States in the 1920s. These score cards date from that period. They are Mahjong score cards, c. 1923. They come from from the exhibition, “Project Mah Jongg” that was on view from May 4, 2010 through February 27, 2011 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage and that explored the traditions, history, and meaning of the Chinese game in Jewish-American life from the 1920s to today.
Source: Project Mah Jongg