Playing Card Deck


From: Hong Kong

Curatorial Section: Asian

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Object Number 29-238-4
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 | Jokers | Five Blessings
Inscription Language Chinese Language

"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: 万千 qianwan (1000 myriads), 白花 zhihua, (white flower) and 王英 Wang Ying (character from the Water Margin). The white flower court card has 元記 Yuan Ji at the top and at the bottom, 請認, 假冒茂造, 男盜女 娼, "Please acknowledge, to counterfeit Mao products, if you are a man you are a thief and if a woman a prostitute". The court card for myriads has writing on either side of the image: 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. This consists of two 7-syllable metrical lines and is 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 Wang Ying court card has 太平 Tai Ping, "desired state of society" at the top. The backs are an orange-red. Faces printed in black, some cards with red seal stamps. Double rectangular border. Includes a wrapper with writing: Wu xing 五星 "Five Stars" Qing ren zhen liao Li Mao ji zao 請認真料李茂記造 “Please note the real article, made by Li at the sign of Mao (luxuriance)". A number of the cards have text: The one of myriads has 小乙 Xiao Yi on it in reference to 燕青 a character in the story the Water Margin. The two of strings has 勝彩 Sheng Cai meaning "color of victory". The nine of strings has 壽壽 shou shou, "longevity" on the top in a stylized script.

From Culin publication: "From Hongkong. Four packets of thirty each and five jokers - the Five Blessings. No index marks. The wrapper was inscribed 'Five Stars' (i.e. the Five Jokers), and 'Please note the real article, made by Li at the sign of Mau (luxuriance).' Total, 125."

Length 9.7 cm
Width 1.7 cm
Credit Line Purchased from William Henry Wilkinson, 1903
Other Number Wilkinson 4 - Collector Number | 29-191-242.6 - Old Museum Number | 29-191-242.7 - Old Museum Number | 29-191-242.16 - Old Museum Number

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