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Playing Card Deck

Playing Card Box

Object Number:29-238-39
Current Location: Collections Storage
Provenience: China
Period: 19th Century
Date Made: 1889 - 1893
Early Date: 1889
Late Date: 1893
Inscription Language:Chinese Language
Length: 9.3 cm
Width: 2.6 cm
Credit Line:Purchased from William Henry Wilkinson, 1903
Other Number:Wilkinson 39 - Collector Number
29-191-241.11 - Old Museum Number


Playing cards based on numbers. Rectangular cards with rounded corners. Backs black. Faces with black and red Chinese characters. There are two sets of cards, one with the numbers 1-10 in xiaoxie 小寫 "small writing": 一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九 十 and one in daxie 大寫 "large writing": 壹, 貳, 叁, 肆, 伍, 陸, 柒, 捌, 玖, 拾. The cards are stuck together due to a tacky yellow coating. The only visible cards are: 八 (8) and 十 (10) in xiaoxie, 肆 (4), 陸 (6), 捌 (8) in daxie, and a special card 降 jiang (Cantonese: hong) which means "descend". See 29-238-33 for an example of a full set of numbers. The paper box consists of bottom tray of white paper with hand written Chinese characters on each end. The tray slides into a paper tube with printed red, grey and blue motif. "Numbers" is written on the outside of box in pencil.

From Culin publication: "From Hankow. Four each of the first ten natural numbers, (a) in large script, (b) in small script, and the following eight special cards: (1) 2 | 7 | 10, red; (2) II | VII | x, red; (3) 3 | 6 | 9, black; (4) III | VI | IX, black; (5) a crab, black; (6) a butterfly or bat, red; (7) hong, "descend," black; (8) shing, "ascend," red. All the cards are hand-painted. The crab and butterfly sreve the purposes of jokers. Total, 48."


[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. 144, No. 39View Objects related to this Actual Citation

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