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Playing Card Deck

Object Number:29-238-5
Current Location: Collections Storage
Provenience: China
Period: 19th Century
Date Made: 1889 - 1893
Early Date: 1889
Late Date: 1893
Lacquer (uncertain)
Iconography:Money Suited
White Flower
Old Thousand
Wang Ying
Water Margin
Five Blessings
Inscription Language:Chinese Language
Length: 9.2 cm
Width: 2.5 cm
Credit Line:Purchased from William Henry Wilkinson, 1903
Other Number:Wilkinson 5 - Collector Number
29-191-242.10 - Old Museum Number


"Stick cards" or Gun Pai 棍牌. This type of deck contains money cards with three suits: 1-9 of cash, 1-9 of strings (of cash) and 1-9 of myriads (of strings) (wan), and five additonal jokers, the Five Blessings: 福 (good fortune), 祿 (promotion), 壽 (long life), 財 (wealth), 喜 (joy). There are three additional court cards, the red flower card, 支花 zhi ha (twigs and flowers), the Wang Ying 王英 card, a character from the Water Margin, and an Old Thousand card which has 万千 Wan Qian at the top in the myriads suit. The 1 of cash card has 元宝 yuan bao (primal treasure) written on it. The 9 of strings has 九 Jiu, (nine) painted on the top and bottom. Backs orange splatter on yellow. Faces printed in black on white with a yellowed tacky surface coating. Some images have red and green coloring. Some cards with red marks painted on face. The pips and suits are indicated by index marks at the top and bottom.

From Culin publication: "From Chungch'ing. Four packets of thirty each and give jokers, the Five Blessings, these last elaborately colored. Index marks as in No. 3, with slight modifications for Wong Ying, 'Red Flower'. Total, 125. Fig. 125."


[Book] Culin, Robert S. 1895. Korean Games, with Notes on the Corresponding Games of China and Japan.. Philadelphia. University of Pennsylvania. Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: pg. 136, No. 5, Fig. 125View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Article] Wilkinson, William H. 1895. "Chinese Origin of Playing Cards". American Anthropologist. Vol. 8. no. 1. pg. 61-78 Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: pg. 70, Fig. 9; pg. 72, Fig. 11; pg. 74, Fig. 14View Objects related to this Actual Citation

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