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Ma Tiao Playing Cards

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Native NameMa Tiao
Object Number:29-191-242.11
Current Location: Collections Storage
Provenience: China
Date Made: Late 19th Century - 1899
Early Date: 1875
Late Date: 1899
Inscription Language:Chinese Language
Length: 9.2 cm
Width: 2.5 cm
Credit Line:Received from various sources, pre-1929


123 of 125 (4 x 30 + 5) Madiao (馬弔) playing cards. Money cards, three suited. There are 35 different cards. Of these there are 27 in 3 suits. 1-9 of cash coins, 1-9 of strings (of cash) and 1-9 of myriads, and three additional cards: 'qianwan', 万千 (1000 myriads), zhihua, and Wang Ying. These 30 cards are quadrupled and additionally there are five extra cards, in games functioning as 'wild' cards. The five extra cards are the five virtues: 礼 (courtesy), 仁 (benevolence), 智 (wisdom), 信 (truth), 義 (justice). In the suits of cash coins and strings of coins the value is depicted by the actual number of coins or strings of coins. In the suit of myriads the value is written out in the top of the cards in Chinese characters. There are portraits of commanders from the "Shui hu zhuan" underneath the values. There are no names with the portraits but recognizable is Zhu Tong on bawan (eight of myriads) by the smaller figure in the lower part of the card depicting the son of the magistrate of Cangzhou. The child is pictured also in the lower part of wuwan (five of myriads), here together with his murderer Li Kui who can be recognized by his crazy look. On yiqian (one of cash) is the text "馬丞記". There are nine different cards with red marks; double red streaks are on the five extra cards, one red stamp is on yidiao (one of strings), two red stamps are on qianwan (万千,1000 myriads) and on Wang Ying and finally there is a red jiu (9) on both short sides of jiudiao (nine of strings). The cards have a double index, so that both value and suit can be seen from it. Backs white with black circular motif.


[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: p. 135 (No. 1)View Objects related to this Actual Citation

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