Playing Card Deck


From: China | Jiangsu | Shanghai

Curatorial Section: Asian

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Native Name Tian Jiu 天九
Object Number 29-238-26
Current Location Collections Storage
Culture Chinese
Provenience China | Jiangsu | Shanghai
Period 19th Century
Date Made 1889 - 1893
Section Asian
Materials Paper | Ink
Technique Printed
Iconography Dominoes | Heavens and Nines | Flower Harmony | Fa Ho | Butterflies | Bats | Human Figures | Musical Instrument | Lotus | Manuscript | Fan
Inscription Language Chinese Language

Playing card deck used to play Tian Jiu, 天九, or Heavens and Nines. Rectangular cards with rounded corners. Backs have printed hexagonal and diamond motif. Faces have black and red spot on white background. Between the dots is blank or with motif printed in color. 13 of the cards with a pair of butterflies facing a central circle with additional black and red dots. 8 of the cards with a pair of dots facing a central circle with black and red dots. 48 of the cards with single seated or standing figure with object in hand such as a fan, musical instrument, manuscript, cloth, lotus. Chinese characters written beside figure. There are 2 and sometimes 3 cards with identical figures.The jokers, identified by their lack of pips, read:姚桂卿Yao Guiqing , 龍大少 Long dashao (Master Long), 阿采 Ah-Cai, 潘大少 Pan dashao (Master Pan), 完姐 Wan jie (Elder Sister Wan), 萬大少 Wan dashao (Master Wan).

From Culin publication: "No. 26. - From Shanghai. Known as "Actor's cards." The "illuminated" cards bear portraits of the heroes and heroines of certain plays, the "doubled' cards are duplicates of the "plain". The three jokers are "illuminated" cards without domino points. Total 129. Fig. 129."

Length 8.5 cm
Width 2.5 cm
Credit Line Purchased from William Henry Wilkinson, 1903
Other Number Wilkinson 26 - Collector Number | 29-191-241.3 - Old Museum Number

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