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Lottery Book

Object Number:17556
Current Location: Collections Storage
Provenience: China
Date Made: 19th Century - 1895
Late Date: 1885
Inscription Language:Chinese Language
Credit Line:Gift of Maxwell Sommerville, 1895


Square sheet of paper glued together and printed with the first 80 characters of the Thousand Character Classic in vertical columns inside a square border, and marked up with brush and red ink. A horizontal line of text zhao lai yuan di gei wen tai zao 照來原底給文泰造 runs through the middle of the square. To this is added a company name stamp 恆和厰 and a brush-written time, 十六日. The company name is stamped on the top and reads: Hang Wo & Co. To the left it reads: Day Time. These cards were used to play the gambling game of pok kop piu (Mandarin: bai ge piao 白鴿票,"white pigeon lottery"). The aim was to guess correctly twenty characters selected at random from the opening eighty of the Thousand-Character Classic. The game was widely played in Canton, and in overseas Chinese communities. It continues to be played in Macao today under the Portuguese spelling "pacapio" and in US casinos under the name "keno", with numbers 1-80 in place of the original Chinese characters.

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