Playing Card Deck


From: Hong Kong

Curatorial Section: Asian

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Object Number 29-238-12
Current Location Collections Storage
Culture Chinese
Provenience Hong Kong
Period 19th Century
Date Made 1889 - 1893
Section Asian
Materials Paper | Ink
Technique Printed
Iconography Money Suited | White Flower | Old Thousand | Wang Ying | Water Margin
Inscription Language Chinese Language

Complete deck of playing cards called "Stick cards" or Gun Pai 棍牌. This type of deck contains money cards with three suits: 1-9 of cash coins, 1-9 of strings (of cash) and 1-9 of myriads. There are also three extra cards: the Old Thousand, White Flower, and Wang Ying. The myriads suit contains characters from the Water Margin story. Thier names appear on the 3, 4, 5, 7, and 9 of myriads. The 3 has 大刀 Da Dao, the 4 has 柴進 Chai Jin, the 5 has 李奎 (李逵) Li Kui, the 7 has 秦明 Qin Ming, and the 9 has 雷橫 Lei Heng. The zhihua 白花 (white flower) court card has the phrase: 請認真料, "Please acknowledge the genuine product" as well as 晋華斋 at the top. The Old Thousand court card which has 万千 Qian Wan at the top has 因過竹院逢僧話,又得 浮生半日閑, Yinguo Zhu Yuan Feng Seng Hua, You De Fusheng Banri Xian on either side of the card. These are two 7-syllable metrical lines made up of the second half of a poem by Tang poet Li She "Passing a monastery among the bamboos I spoke by chance with a monk, and achieved a half-day's respite from this vaccuous life." The phrase 天下太平 (peace under heaven) is on a coin at the bottom of the card. On the Wang Ying 王英 card is a portrait of Wang Ying with an oval above his head with characters (空湯?). The 1 of strings has the characters 當初. The 2 of strings has the characters 勝彩, "color of victory". The 9 of strings has 壽壽 shou shou, "longevity" on the top in a stylized script. The backs are unprinted white paper. The faces are printed in black on white within a double rectangular border. Four of the cards are stamped with red ink seal of Shou 壽 (longevity). Some cards have one stamp while others have two.

From Culin publicaton: "From Hongkong. Four packets of thirty; no jokers. No index marks. Total, 120."

Length 8.4 cm
Width 2.1 cm
Credit Line Purchased from William Henry Wilkinson, 1903
Other Number Wilkinson 12 - Collector Number | 29-191-242.15 - Old Museum Number | 29-191-242.18 - Old Museum Number | 92-1-351 - Found in Collection Number

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