Playing Card Deck


From: China | Hubei | Hankou

Curatorial Section: Asian

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Object Number 29-238-3
Current Location Collections Storage
Culture Chinese
Provenience China | Hubei | Hankou
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 | Jokers | Five Blessings | Bat | Yin and Yang | Lin Chong
Inscription Language Chinese Language

"Stick cards" or Gun Pai 棍牌. This set was sold as 金棍 Jin Gun or "golden stick" cards. 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). It also has five additional jokers, the Five Blessings: 福 (good fortune), 祿 (promotion), 壽 (long life), 財 (wealth), 喜 (joy) as well as three extra court cards: the white flower with 林冲 Ling Chong written on the bottom, a character from the Water Margin Story. The Wang Ying card with 王英 Wang Ying at the top, also a character from the Water Margin Story. And 千万 Qian Wan, "Old Thousand". The one of cash card also has 劉唐 Liu Ting written on it which is another character from the Water Margin. The backs are orange. Faces printed in black on white. Some images colored in red, peach and green. Others with symbols painted over face of cards. Yellowed surface coating. Human figures, a ying yang symbol, and an abstract bat motif appear on various cards.

From Culin publication: "From Hankow. Four packets of thirty each and five jokers. Index marks for suits and pips and for the coat cards. The jokers are the Five Blessings, viz.: fuk, "happiness;" luk, "promotion;" shau, "long life;" hi, "joy" (i.e., posterity"), and ts'oi, wealth." The set was described on the original paper box in which it was sold as Kam kwan, "Golden kwan" (stick) cards. There are only three specimens of Old Thousand and Lam Ch'ung, "White Flower." It is not unusual to find apparent defects of this kind in Western China packs. Total, 123."

Length 9.2 cm
Width 2.5 cm
Credit Line Purchased from William Henry Wilkinson, 1903
Other Number Wilkinson 3 - Collector Number | 29-191-242.12 - Old Museum Number | 29-191-242.14 - Old Museum Number

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