What Is Mahjong and How Is It Played?- 20 types

When you think about Mahjong, you immediately imagine a group of elderly sitting at a table fully concentrating on the game. Although the Mahjong tiles resemble those used in dominos, the game itself is nothing like it. Mahjong is more like the Western card game called Rummy.

This tile-based game is very popular in China. It is one of the main forms of entertainment and pass times, especially during the Spring festival. Aside from being a form of entertainment, it is also a representation of Chinese traditional culture. People in China consider the game the fifth most essential part of their culture. Mahjong is seen as a great way of relaxing by relieving stress and elevating one’s mood.

Over the years, the game has become widespread all over the world. It’s especially popular in America, where you will mostly find Jewish women or individuals from the Asian ethnicity playing it. But how was this game invented and who is credited for doing so? To understand the meaning and importance of Mahjong, this post will discuss the history of Mahjong. We will also cover why it’s an important game. As a bonus, we will help you understand what the rules of the game are and how to play it.

Contents hide

what is mahjong game?

Mahjong, also known as “Mahjongg,” is a four-player tile-based board game of Chinese origin. It is popular in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and the Fujian region, as well as in other countries with significant Chinese communities. Mahjong was invented by ancient Chinese and is primarily played for entertainment purposes.

The game is typically played with small rectangular tiles made of bamboo, bone, or plastic, with various patterns or characters representing different suits and ranks, such as “Wan” (Myriads), “Tiao” (Bamboo), “Bing” (Circles), and others.

There are various regional variations of Mahjong, with Sichuan Mahjong, Cantonese Mahjong, and Wuhan Mahjong being among the most popular. During the game, players aim to form specific combinations of tiles, such as sets of three identical tiles (“Pung”), sequences of three consecutive tiles of the same suit (“Chow”), and others. The winner is determined by the player who successfully completes their hand with the required combinations and the highest scoring tiles.

Mahjong is not only widely popular in China but has also spread to other Asian countries, such as Japan, South Korea, and others. Within Chinese cultural circles, Mahjong has become a social activity and a means of entertainment, promoting strategic thinking, decision-making skills, and fostering social interaction among friends and family.

what are mahjong pieces called?

In the game of Mahjong, the pieces are called “tiles””majiang” “Mah-jong” “sparrow tiles””Mah-jongg”  or “Mahjong tiles.” Each tile is adorned with various symbols, characters, or numbers, and there are different types of tiles in a Mahjong set. The game typically uses 144 tiles, although there are regional variations with different tile sets.

The types of tiles found in a standard Mahjong set include:

Suit tiles: These are tiles numbered from 1 to 9 and are divided into three suits: Circles (or dots), Bamboo (or sticks), and Characters (or numbers).

Honor tiles: These tiles are divided into two categories: Winds and Dragons.

Wind tiles: Represented by the four cardinal directions – East, South, West, and North.

Dragon tiles: Represented by three different dragons – Red Dragon, Green Dragon, and White Dragon.

Flower tiles (optional): Some Mahjong sets include four Flower tiles, which do not belong to any particular suit and are used in special scoring situations.

Characters: One of Characters, Two of Characters, Three of Characters, Four of Characters, Five of Characters, Six of Characters, Seven of Characters, Eight of Characters, Nine of Characters, Ten of Characters.

Bamboos: One of Bamboos, Two of Bamboos, Three of Bamboos, Four of Bamboos, Five of Bamboos, Six of Bamboos, Seven of Bamboos, Eight of Bamboos, Nine of Bamboos, Ten of Bamboos.

Circles (or Dots): One of Circles, Two of Circles, Three of Circles, Four of Circles, Five of Circles, Six of Circles, Seven of Circles, Eight of Circles, Nine of Circles, Ten of Circles.

Winds: East Wind, South Wind, West Wind, North Wind.

Dragons: Red Dragon, Green Dragon, White Dragon.

Jokers (Wild Cards): Red Zhong (center), Green Fa (prosperity), White Bai (white).

In addition, there are some other terms, such as Pong Pong Hu (all sets), Pure One Suit (same suit only), Seven Pairs (seven pairs of identical tiles), Gang Shang Hua (win by drawing a tile after declaring a Kong), etc.

Please note that the names of these tiles may vary slightly depending on the regional rules or variations of Mahjong being played. Additionally, some sets may have decorative variations, but the fundamental types of tiles remain consistent across most Mahjong sets.

why is mahjong called mahjong?

Mahjong, originally known as “Sparrow Tiles” (in some countries and regions it is still called by this name) or “Ma Diao Pai,” eventually became known as Mahjong, and this name has persisted to the present day.

The earliest form of Mahjong originated from a game called “Yezi Xi” (Leaf Game) because its paper cards were similar in size to leaves. The name “Sparrow Tiles” or “Ma Diao Pai” comes from a historical incident in Taicang, Jiangsu, where there was a royal granary that suffered from sparrow infestations, leading to significant grain losses. To address this issue, they used bamboo-made tokens to record the number of sparrows killed as a means to reward the bird catchers. These tokens, known as “Taicang Protecting Grain Tiles,” served the dual purpose of record-keeping and also offered a means of entertainment during leisure time.

As for the imagery and symbolism in modern Mahjong tiles: “One of Bamboos” is depicted as a bird, “Circles (or Dots)” resembles a bullet cartridge, “Ten of Characters” represents a reward count, “Bamboos” track the number of birds caught, “East, South, West, North” represent wind directions, “Red Dragon” symbolizes hitting the target, “White Dragon” signifies a miss, and “Green Dragon” may represent rewards, prosperity, or promotions.

Over time, the pronunciation of “bird” changed to “diao” in the Jiangsu and Zhejiang dialects, and since “ma” and “má” have similar pronunciations, “Sparrow Tiles” gradually became known as “Ma Diao Pai.”

Another theory for the origin of “Ma Diao Pai” suggests that it comes from the phrase “a horse with three legs can’t move,” as the back of the Ma Diao Pai tiles depicted money, and gambling with horses was associated with the name.

During the late Ming and early Qing periods, Ma Diao Pai gained popularity, and a variant known as “Mo He Pai” (Silent Hand Tiles) emerged due to players not speaking during the game. Initially consisting of 60 tiles, it expanded to 120 tiles, and various rule sets were introduced, making it highly entertaining. However, the issue of using over 100 paper cards led to the development of bone tiles as a replacement, laying the foundation for the modern Mahjong material.

Subsequently, due to the slightly negative connotations of the characters “bird” and “diao” in the Chinese language and the evolution of regional dialects, the term “Mahjong” gradually became the official name and has been used ever since.

what is mahjong tiles made of?

Mahjong is a traditional Chinese game, primarily made from materials such as bamboo, ivory, bone, and ox horn. Among them, bamboo is the most commonly used material due to its lightweight, durable, and easily workable properties. Processed bamboo is used to make the main body of the Mahjong tiles, known as Mahjong bone tiles. Other materials like bone, ivory, and ox horn are used to craft special tiles like flower tiles and wind tiles. In the manufacturing process, bamboo is cut into appropriate-sized pieces and then undergoes processes like polishing, drilling, and printing to create the Mahjong tiles. Special tiles like flower tiles and wind tiles require more complex techniques, such as carving and inlaying.

Regarding the material, game formats, and evolution of Mahjong, here is a general overview. In terms of material, Mahjong has been made from various materials throughout history, such as bamboo, wood, paper, bone, and more recently, plastics.

Material used in Mahjong production: Bamboo, bone, or plastic.

Mahjong, originating from China, is commonly referred to as “Sparrow Tiles” in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao and Minnan regions. It is a traditional Chinese game and recreational tool. Mahjong tiles are typically small rectangular blocks made from bamboo, bone, or plastic, with patterns or characters engraved on them.

In the northern style of Mahjong, each set contains 136 tiles. In the southern style, it usually comprises 144 tiles, including the four flower tiles (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) and the four flower tiles (Plum, Orchid, Bamboo, Chrysanthemum). Some regional variations may add additional tiles like the Fortune Pot, God of Wealth, Rat, Cat, and four wild tiles, resulting in a total of 152 tiles.

what is a mahjong set?

A Mahjong set is a collection of tiles and other necessary components used to play the game of Mahjong. It typically includes all the essential elements needed for the game, and the specific contents may vary depending on regional variations and the style of Mahjong being played. A standard Mahjong set usually contains the following components:

Tiles: The most critical component of a Mahjong set is the tiles. A traditional set consists of 144 tiles, although there are variations with different tile counts. The tiles are divided into different suits and types, such as Characters, Bamboos, Circles (or Dots), Winds, and Dragons. Each type of tile has specific symbols or characters engraved on them.

Jokers (Wild Cards): Some Mahjong sets include special tiles known as Jokers or wild cards. These tiles can represent any other tile in the game, helping players form complete sets and win the game.

Dice: Mahjong is often played with two dice to determine the dealer, the starting player, and the number of tiles to be dealt.

Counting sticks: Mahjong sets may include counting sticks, used for keeping track of scores during the game.

Wind indicators: In some Mahjong variants, wind indicators are included to track the prevailing wind and the current round’s seating positions.

Betting chips (optional): For gambling or scoring purposes, some Mahjong sets may include betting chips to represent the players’ stakes or points.

Mahjong table (optional): While not part of the actual set, some players use special Mahjong tables with built-in tile holders and other features for convenience.

The design and materials of Mahjong sets can vary widely, with different regions and cultures having their own unique styles and traditions. Modern Mahjong sets often use plastic, while traditional sets may be made from materials like bamboo, bone, ivory, or resin. The tiles and components are typically stored in a box or carrying case for easy transportation and storage.

how many types of mahjong are there

There are many types of Mahjong, and it is challenging to determine the exact number. In China, different regions have their unique features and rules. Some of the more well-known variants include Chinese Official (also known as “Guobiao” or “Chinese Classical Mahjong”), Cantonese Mahjong, Taiwanese Mahjong, Jiujian Mahjong, Changsha Mahjong, Sichuan Mahjong, and Blood Battle Mahjong.

Each type of Mahjong has its own set of rules and gameplay, allowing players to choose the variant that suits their interests and preferences.

Here are some common types of Mahjong:

  • Cantonese Mahjong, which includes variations like “Chicken Hand,” “Pushing Out,” “New Rules,” “Old Rules,” and “Adding Bonus Points.”
  • Taiwanese Mahjong, which includes variations like “Red Tile,” “Sea Bottom,” and “Flower Blooming on a Kong.”
  • Jiujian Mahjong, which includes variations like “Small Tile King,” “Big Tile King,” and “Ten Hu Snatch.”
  • Changsha Mahjong, which includes variations like “Opening and Revealing Tiles” and “Running Hand.”
  • Sichuan Mahjong, which includes variations like “Wind Blowing,” “Rain Falling,” and “Catch the Fish Hook.”
  • Blood Battle Mahjong, which includes variations like “Blood River,” “Calling Numbers,” and “Killing with a Return Shot.”

In addition to these, there are other types like Chinese Official Mahjong, Hangzhou Mahjong, Nanchang Mahjong, Wuhan Mahjong, Chongqing Mahjong, and many more. Each variant has its own set of rules and gameplay, allowing players to choose the one that suits their interests and preferences.

how many tiles in mahjong?

A Mahjong set can have different numbers of tiles depending on the specific variant being played, but typically, each set contains 136 or 144 tiles, including:

Honors: Consisting of four tiles each of East Wind, South Wind, West Wind, and North Wind, making a total of 16 tiles.

Dragons: Comprising four tiles each of Red Dragon, Green Dragon, and White Dragon, making a total of 12 tiles.

Flowers: Including one tile each of Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Plum, Orchid, Bamboo, and Chrysanthemum, making a total of 8 tiles.

Suit tiles: Consisting of four tiles each of numbers one to nine in each of the three suits (Characters, Circles, and Bamboos), making a total of 108 tiles.

In some regions, the number of tiles in a Mahjong set may vary. For instance, Cantonese Mahjong (also known as “Chicken Hand”) has only 108 tiles, whereas Taiwanese Mahjong (“Red Tile”) has 152 tiles.

how many flowers in mahjong?

Mahjong is a gambling game with distinct Chinese characteristics, and its deck consists of three suits: Characters, Circles, and Bamboos. Each suit has numbered tiles from one to nine, with four identical tiles per number, making a total of 36 tiles. In addition to the numbered tiles, there are seven honor tiles: East, West, South, North, Red Dragon, Green Dragon, and White Dragon, with four tiles of each. Lastly, there are eight flower tiles: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Plum, Orchid, Bamboo, and Chrysanthemum, one of each kind. These flower tiles play a special role in the game and can help players achieve victory.

During the game, players need to make decisions on discarding or keeping tiles based on their hand composition and strive to complete a winning hand. The rules for winning hands vary depending on the specific variant being played, but typically involve forming sets of three or four identical tiles while meeting certain conditions. In the game, players must devise optimal strategies based on the current situation and their hand to achieve victory.

Mahjong is a game with deep cultural significance, serving not only as a form of entertainment but also as a game that involves critical thinking and strategy. While playing Mahjong, players not only enjoy the fun of the game but also learn valuable life lessons such as strategizing and adapting to changing circumstances.

what are the symbols on mahjong tiles?

The symbols on Mahjong tiles are composed of various elements, including three suits: Characters, Circles, and Bamboos. Each suit consists of numbered tiles from one to nine, with four identical tiles per number, totaling 36 tiles. Additionally, there are seven honor tiles: East, West, South, North, Red Dragon, Green Dragon, and White Dragon, with four tiles of each. Lastly, there are eight flower tiles: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Plum, Orchid, Bamboo, and Chrysanthemum, one of each kind.

These symbols not only provide the foundational rules and gameplay for the game of Mahjong but also add unique historical and cultural significance to it. The three suits of Characters, Circles, and Bamboos represent different historical and cultural backgrounds. For example, the Character tiles represent ancient Chinese copper coins, the Circle tiles represent grains, and the Bamboo tiles represent the Four Treasures of the Study (brush, ink, paper, and inkstone). These symbols come together, reflecting the rich and diverse cultural heritage and historical origins of Mahjong.

Moreover, these symbols embody the profoundness of Chinese culture. The eight flower tiles, representing Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Plum, Orchid, Bamboo, and Chrysanthemum, not only signify seasons and flowers but also reflect the aesthetic pursuit and philosophical contemplation in traditional Chinese culture. The use of these symbols in Mahjong not only adds fun and strategic elements to the game but also showcases the unique charm and wisdom of Chinese culture.

Mahjong History of The Game.

Initially, the game was called Maque which translates to a sparrow. This was because while shuffling the tiles, they would make crackling sounds that resembled the chattering of a sparrow. Many Mandarin-speaking Chinese today call it majiang, although there are still some languages in South China that still refer to it as maque. In Thai, however, the name of the game is calque which means “sparrow cards”.

While it is clear that Mahjong originated from China, it is not clear exactly what date or period it was invented. It is, however, said to have been played for many years in China before it became globally popular. The earliest report of the game in China was in the 19th century, before World War I. The cards are said to have been based on draw and discard games that were popular between the 18th and 19th centuries. Penghu is considered to be the most likely ancestor of Mahjong, which was a game that was played using 120-150 cards. By the 19th century, both names, Maque and Penghu were used interchangeably when playing with either cards or tiles. It is not clear when the game fully converted to using tiles but the tiles are said to have been adopted from another game called Madiao. This game is also thought to be an earlier version from which mahjong evolved.

In 1895, many foreign scholars began writing about the game. William Henry Wilkinson, a British sinologist, wrote about a game resembling mahjong called ma chioh (hemp sparrow). Stewart Cullen also wrote a paper on the game in the same year. By 1910, different languages including Japanese and French had written accounts of the game. But it wasn’t until 1920 that the game became popular in America.

Joseph P. Babcock, an American resident in Shanghai is credited for having made the game popular in America. It is said that he was the one who coined the name Mahjong when he introduced it to America after World War I. To make the game simpler for Americans to play, he came up with a modified set of rules and renamed the tiles in English, adding numerals and letters that were more familiar to Western card players. This was all laid out in his book which is commonly called “the red book”. After some time, his rules were discarded and people went back to the original rules. By 1937, the game became more regulated in America after the National Mahjong League was formed. The NML was responsible for creating maahj, the first American rule book that stated its version of the game based on Ancient Chinese rules.

While the game gained popularity worldwide, in China fewer people were playing it. Given its initial gambling nature, the game became outlawed in China, along with other gambling games, following the establishment of the Republic of China in 1949. This was because at the time such games were seen by the government as a representation of capitalist corruption, that tainted the Chinese culture. After the Cultural Revolution, the game begun being played openly again, this time, minus the gambling aspect. In 1985, it became officially legal, which allowed the Chinese to play it earnestly. Today, people continue to enjoy the game both in China and around the world.

Who Invented Mahjong?

Just as it is not clear as to the exact time Mahjong came into existence, it is also not clear who exactly invented the game. Historians have, however, come up with multiple theories about who the person could be.

The first theory is that the game was invented by a great philosopher called Confucius, who lived during the Hundred School of Thoughts period. The basis of this theory is that there seemed to be a connection between the three dragon tiles in the game and Confucius’ three noble virtues. Other than that, there is no solid proof that he created the game.

Another theory is that Mahjong was invented during the Ming dynasty’s reign as Madiao. This game is considered similar to the card game Ya Pei, where the flowers and numbering of the Ya Pei cards greatly resembled the writings on the Mahjong tiles. Still, there is no concrete proof to establish this as true.

The final and least convincing theory is that the game came about in the 1870s. Based on the theory, it is believed that a nobleman from Shanghai, but there is no evidence to support this claim, as such, many historians dismiss this theory. Because of the lack of proof, these theories remain speculations. While it isn’t as important to know where the game originated from, having more information about its history will make those playing Mahjong appreciate it more.

Why Is Mahjong Important?

As we mentioned earlier, Mahjong isn’t simply a form of entertainment to the Chinese. They consider it an important representation of their culture and the fifth most essential form of entertainment form on China.

Like everything in China, the game also holds a lot of symbolism for the Chinese people. It is majorly seen as a representation of peace and friendship. Therefore, inviting a Chinese to play the game with you is seen by them as you extending your hand of friendship. Almost all Chinese homes have a set of Mahjong tiles, so you will always find it being played during important occasions like weddings, childbirth, or during the Chinese New Year. Aside from representing friendship, Mahjong is also considered a symbol of affluence and pride. Owning high-quality Mahjong tiles made of ivory was seen as a sign of great affluence and upper-class status.

In other parts of the world, the game held and still holds a lot of importance, especially in America. Initially when the Chinese begun migrating to America, playing the game was seen as a connection that reminded the American Chinese of their culture. It gave them an identity at a time when they were viewed as perpetual foreigners. Mahjong was also seen as an important bridge for the internal divide that was in China town, which was both gendered and generational. People of different backgrounds could sit down and share their heritage, thanks to the game.

Aside from the Chinese, Mahjong also proved to be beneficial to American Jews especially women. In the time during and after World War II when many Jewish families moved from crowded urban areas to new suburban regions, the Jewish women often felt isolated. Thanks to Mahjong, however, they found a way to form new social relations and networks.

What Are the Rules of Mahjong?

Traditional Chinese Board Games Mahjong basic Rules: Mahjong requires great skill, strategy, calculations, and sometimes a bit of luck. The game is played by four players although there are variations of three players that exist. A full set of Mahjong tiles involve 144 of them. These tiles are grouped into three suits each containing nine types of tiles. The three suits include Characters, Bamboo, and Dots and of the nine types, there are four of each. Aside from these titles, there are what are known as honor tiles. These consist of four dragons (red, green, and white) and winds (north, south, east, and west). Most sets also include four flower tiles and four seasons tiles.

The objective of the game is to form a Mahjong hand. As such, the players take turns picking and discarding tiles until one player wins. For the game to start, each player must have 13 titles, which is called a hand, the rest of the tiles are placed in what is called a wall. With each hand, each player must be assigned a wind. The one who ends up with the east wind is the one who starts the game. From there, the game goes counter-clockwise from the first player. Each of them takes turns picking and discarding tiles.

Keep in mind that at any given point, each player is required to have 13 tiles, unless they managed to form a Mahjong hand that has 14 titles. There are four types of Hands a player can declare. The fourteen tiles in Mahjong’s hand should consist of a pair and four sets of three tiles or three sets of four tiles. If you have a set containing three of the same-suit (same-suit triplet), this is called having a Pong’s hand. A Kong hand is when you have four of the same-suit (same-suit quadruplet). A Chow on the other hand is a straight same-suit.

As you pick and discard the tiles, every player has the right to pick a card that was discarded by another play. This is known as claiming and is applicable when the player claiming believes they have one of the four hands. The rules of claiming are simple. If you’re claiming a tile to declare a Chow, you can only pick the tile discarded by the player who played before you. If it is to declare a Kong, Pong, or Mahjong, then you can pick a tile discarded by any of the players. If several players want to claim the same tile, priority is given to whoever declares a Mahjong hand, followed by a Kong hand, then a Pong hand, and finally a Chow’s hand. If the players who want the same tile also have the same hand, then priority goes to whoever turn is closest.

When it comes to scoring, this is done in two steps. To begin with, the sets and pairs of a hand have mini points, including a Mahjong hand. These mini points will vary in amount based on the rules of the game. Other than that, the pattern of the hand is also analyzed for scoring. This also varies based on the game rules. A fan is a score awarded for different patterns and each fan doubles the mini points once. The final score is called the hand score, although, in some game rules, it is considered irrelevant and only the fan scores are counted.

Depending on the platform Mahjong is being played, there may be a slight variation of the rules. Sometimes some rules are omitted, at times some are added. For example, Hong Kong house rules, Riichi house rules, and tournaments have slightly varying game rules especially when it comes to scoring and winning.  

How To Play Chinese Mahjong Tutorial?

Now that you are familiar with the basic rules in Mahjong, it is easier to play the game. As stated, the game begins with each player being dealt a hand of 13 tiles each. Traditionally, the holder of the east wind tile is the one to start, however, in modern times a dice is rolled to determine this. Once the first player picks and discards a tile the next turn goes to the player on the right.

With each turn, each player must give the player before their time to claim the most recently discarded tile. As discussed above the priority is first given to the player who declares a Mahjong hand. If there is a player with the winning hand, then they may pick the tile and reveal the complete winning hand.

If there is no player with a Mahjong hand then the next priority goes to the one with a Kong hand. Such a player can pick the discarded tile and reveal the Kong set before discarding a different tile. If there is no Kong hand then the privilege extends to the one with a Pong’s hand. If no one declares the hand but the discarded tile completes your Chow’s hand, you can declare your hand at the beginning of your turn and pick the tile. But keep in mind only the most recently discarded tile can be claimed.

If the discarded tile doesn’t complete a hand for any player, then the game can proceed with the next player picking a card from the wall going left, and discarding a different tile. The game can continue up to 16 rounds, or until the players agree to stop or if one player declares the winning hand.

mahjong symbols meaning

The symbols in Mahjong carry different meanings; for example, the suits of Characters, Circles, and Bamboos represent different numbers and patterns. The seven honor tiles: East, West, South, North, Red Dragon, Green Dragon, and White Dragon, represent different directions and the White Dragon is considered a blank tile. The eight flower tiles: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Plum, Orchid, Bamboo, and Chrysanthemum, represent different seasons and flowers. These symbols hold significant importance in the game of Mahjong as they help players form tile combinations, calculate points, and determine the winner.

Furthermore, these symbols reflect various aspects of Chinese culture and history, such as numerals and astronomical calendars, directions and the concept of “blank” tiles, as well as seasons and flowers.

In addition, the concept of “symbols” in Mahjong is also a parameter to measure the cuteness (moe) and the size of the winning hand. It is equivalent to the fashionable value of the Mahjong characters. By changing the components and using different postures to form a winning hand or a ready hand with different characters, players can obtain different numbers of symbols. When a player wins with a completed hand, the number of symbols depends on the cuteness value and the form of the hand. By combining the cuteness value and the points, the final “moe” score is calculated.

what does mahjong symbolize?

The symbols in Mahjong carry different meanings and symbolism as follows:

  • East, West, South, North, Red Dragon, Green Dragon, and White Dragon represent the “Three Powers” and the “Round Sky” concept.
  • Each tile in Mahjong holds a special meaning and embodies distinct features and artistic concepts of traditional Chinese culture.
  • “White Dragon” represents Earth, “Green Dragon” represents Heaven, and “Red Dragon” represents Man. The determination of “Man” creates a true roundness, with East, West, South, North, Red Dragon, Green Dragon, and White Dragon combining to form a complete circular representation, not of the Earth’s roundness, but that of the universe.

Specifically, the meanings and symbolism of the three special tiles, “Red Dragon” (中), “Green Dragon” (发), and “White Dragon” (白), are as follows:

Red Dragon (中): Symbolizes the color red and represents auspiciousness and celebration.

The Red Dragon tile is one of the most special and important tiles in Mahjong. Historically, Mahjong is said to have originated in the southern regions of China, particularly in Guangdong, where the local dialect refers to the Red Dragon tile as “Red Zhong.” The tile is red in color, thus it is considered auspicious and a symbol of celebration.

In Mahjong, the Red Dragon tile is believed to bring good luck and represents happiness, health, wealth, and a bright future. As a result, the Red Dragon tile is also known as “Big Red Zhong” and is one of the most popular tiles in various Mahjong competitions.

Green Dragon (发): Symbolizes silver and represents wealth and prosperity.

The Green Dragon tile also carries symbolism related to wealth and good fortune. It is believed that the Green Dragon tile originated from ancient Chinese “silver” coins, representing wealth and abundance.

In Mahjong, players consider the Green Dragon tile to have a strong influence on prosperity, bringing wealth and good luck. As a result, the Green Dragon tile is often regarded as one of the most important tiles when playing Mahjong.

White Dragon (白): Symbolizes a blank or emptiness and represents purity and freshness.

The White Dragon tile is one of the most common tiles in Mahjong, often depicted as a blank tile without any patterns or designs. As a result, it represents emptiness and a sense of freshness.

In Mahjong, the White Dragon tile is believed to cleanse the mind, bringing a sense of freshness and tranquility. Many players consider the White Dragon tile to be a symbol of peace and quiet, helping them maintain a calm and composed state of mind during the game.

It’s important to note that the interpretation and symbolism of Mahjong tiles may vary in different regions and cultures, and the concepts of “Red Dragon,” “Green Dragon,” and “White Dragon” may have different interpretations depending on the context.

mahjong dragon tiles meaning

The meanings of Mahjong dragon tiles are as follows:

Green Dragon: It consists of three sets of tiles of the same suit from 1 to 9, also known as “Pure One Suit Triplets.” Any suit (bamboo, dots, or characters) with 9 tiles from 1 to 9 can form this fixed tile pattern.

Flower Dragon: It consists of one set of each suit (bamboo, dots, and characters) and can be connected from 1 to 9.

Mixed Dragon: It consists of three sets of tiles from two different suits (e.g., bamboo and characters or dots and characters) and can be connected sequentially from 1 to 9.

Attached Dragon: It is a variation of the Green Dragon tile, where an additional set of tiles of a different suit is attached to either the head or tail of the Green Dragon.

Green Dragon Soars in the Sky: It is a special term that indicates that the Green Dragon tile is in a specific position during the game, implying the tile’s auspiciousness and reverence.

Twin Dragons Play with a Pearl: It is an interesting pattern where the player needs to form two sets of sequences (1-2-3 and 7-8-9) with bamboo and character tiles to resemble two short dragons playing with a pearl.

Twin Dragons Play with a Phoenix: To achieve this pattern, the player must form two sets of sequences (1-2-3 and 7-8-9) with bamboo and character tiles, and the tile required to win must be a 1-character, resembling a phoenix.

Twin Dragons Battle with a Snake: To win with this pattern, the player must form two sets of sequences (1-2-3 and 7-8-9) with bamboo and character tiles, with the winning tile being a 1-bamboo, symbolizing a snake.

Two Suits Double Dragon Pair: It refers to forming two sets of sequences with two different suits and using 5 as the pair tile to achieve the win.

One Suit Double Dragon Pair: This pattern refers to forming two sets of sequences with one suit and using 5 as the pair tile, considered a high-scoring pattern due to its difficulty in achieving.

history of mahjong in china

Mahjong, originated in China, was initially a game played by the royal and noble classes, with a history dating back to three to four thousand years ago. Over the course of its long history, Mahjong gradually spread from the palace to the common people and became more standardized during the mid-Qing Dynasty.

Mahjong tiles, also known as “Mahjongg” or “Mahjong,” evolved from the popular card games “Madiao” and paper cards in the late Ming Dynasty. These card games are closely related to the ancient Chinese gambling game called “Bo Xi” (Six Dice), which can be traced back to at least before the reign of King Zhou of Shang, as mentioned in “Records of the Grand Historian” and other texts. The earliest form of Bo Xi was called “Liu Bo” and consisted of six sticks and twelve chess pieces, with the sticks being long bamboo items, equivalent to modern dice used in playing Mahjong.

The book “Yanshi Jiaxun Zayi” recorded that Bo Xi was divided into “Da Bo” and “Xiao Bo.” The rules of Da Bo are now unknown, but Xiao Bo is well-documented in the “Ancient Bo Classic.” In this game, two players sat opposite each other with a board containing 12 lanes, and black and white rectangular pieces were placed in the lanes. Additionally, two fish-shaped items were placed in the middle as water. The players took turns rolling qiong (dice) and moved their pieces based on the results. When a piece reached the endpoint, it was stood upright and became a “xiaoxi” or “xiaoxi,” which allowed the player to “capture fish” and gain points.

During the Han and Wei Dynasties, Bo Xi underwent a significant transformation. The pieces became independent and moved like chess, and the qiong changed to “Wu Mu,” which were five wooden dice. These dice became a separate gaming tool known as “Chupu,” with the result determined by the number of dots rolled. Legend has it that these dice were created by Cao Zhi, initially made of jade but later changed to bone. They became known as “Double Six” as the five wooden dice were reduced to two cubes with six sides, each marked with dots ranging from one to six.

By the Tang Dynasty, dice had become an independent gaming tool and increased to six dice. According to “Xishu Ji,” Emperor Tang Xuanzong and Yang Guifei played dice games, and the emperor needed two dice to both show “four” simultaneously to turn the tide of the game. When he achieved this, he ordered the four dots on the dice to be painted red, which is why the one and four dots on modern dice are red, while the other four sides are black.

Since the Tang Dynasty, various methods of gambling using six dice to determine winning or losing were collectively called “Shazi Ge.” The most refined gaming tool that evolved from “Shazi Ge” during the Song Huizong Xuanyou era was the “Bone Pai” (also known as Xuanhe Pai), which is similar to modern games like Pai Gow, Bull Pai, and Tianjiu Pai. Bone Pai, made from ivory or bone, changed the cubic dice to rectangular, and the six-sided dice with dots became one-sided. There were 21 patterns in Bone Pai, with each pattern formed by combining the dots of two dice. Thus, the maximum score in Bone Pai was 12 dots, and the minimum was two dots. Each pattern had two or one cards, totaling 32 cards.

In the mid-Tang Dynasty, alongside “Shazi Ge,” a game called “Yezixi” appeared. There are various claims about its origin, but it is said that it involved recording win and loss values on paper while playing “Shazi Ge.” This can be evidenced by a passage in Ouyang Xiu’s “Returning to the Fields,” where “yezi” refers to pieces of paper used for recording. Though this “yezi” is not a fully developed game, it can be seen as the precursor to Mahjong tiles.

The original name of Mahjong was likely “Majiang,” and it was named after the 108 heroes from the novel “Water Margin” (also known as “Outlaws of the Marsh”). Legend has it that a person named Wan Bingtiao from the late Yuan and early Ming Dynasty admired the heroes from the novel and wanted to introduce their stories to officials and nobles, promoting their love for the people. Thus, Mahjong was invented, incorporating the characters from the novel into the game. The 108 tiles represent the 108 heroes. For example, the nine bamboo tiles represent “Nine Dragons” Shi Jin, the two bamboo tiles represent “Double Whips” Hu Yan Zhuo, and the one dot tile represents “Black Whirlwind” Li Kui. The three suits (myriad, bamboo, and character) were named after their corresponding heroes based on homophones. Each suit has four tiles of each number, totaling 108 tiles. Adding the five directional tiles (East, West, South, North, and Center) with four tiles each, and the “flower” tiles, the complete set of tiles contains 144 tiles.

During the late Ming and early Qing Dynasties, while Mahjong (Ma Diaopai) was prevalent, another game called “Paper Cards” (also known as “Mohe Pai”) emerged as a recreational tool. Paper cards were also played by four players and were made of paper, measuring about two inches long and less than one inch wide. Initially, there were 60 cards divided into three suits: “Wenqian” (文钱), “Suozhi” (索子), and “Wanguan” (万贯), each suit having two copies of numbers one to nine. Additionally, there were two copies each of the “Yao Tou” (幺头) or honor tiles (similar to “Zhong,” “Fa,” and “Bai” in modern Mahjong). When playing with paper cards, players first drew ten cards, and then they took turns drawing and playing cards. A set of three consecutive tiles was called “Fu,” and having three sets plus a pair was considered a winning hand (“Hu” in Mahjong). If a player played a tile, the others had to respond simultaneously, and the first one to declare “Hu” won. This game was called “Mo He Pai” because it was played in complete silence.

Later, players felt that the number of cards in the game was too limited, and to enhance the enjoyment, they combined two sets of cards, resulting in a total of 120 cards. In this version, not only a set of three consecutive tiles but also three identical tiles could form a winning hand. This introduced “Kan” (坎, three consecutive tiles of the same suit), “Peng” (碰, three identical tiles), and “Kai Gang” (开杠, four identical tiles). This version was then referred to as “Peng He Pai.”

Around the late Qing Dynasty, paper cards included the addition of “East,” “South,” “West,” and “North” wind tiles (four of each wind). At that time, people commonly used square tables, also known as “Eight Immortals” tables, which could accommodate eight people during meals. When playing cards, each side faced only one direction, limiting each side to one player. Gradually, this led to the custom of playing the game with four players, with each sitting on one side. Inspired by the cardinal directions, the “East,” “South,” “West,” and “North” wind tiles were introduced.

The addition of the “Zhong,” “Fa,” and “Bai” honor tiles might have been influenced by people’s aspirations for promotion and wealth. “Zhong” represented the success in imperial examinations (“Zhong San Yuan”), “Fa” signified prosperity, and being promoted in the examinations often led to wealth. “Bai” (white) possibly symbolized purity or a blank slate.

As the game progressed, players sometimes ran out of tiles without anyone forming a winning hand, which caused dissatisfaction. To address this issue, the concept of “Ting” (listening for a winning tile) was introduced. Initially, there were only two “Ting” tiles, but gradually, more tiles were added, eventually evolving into the illustrated Mahjong tiles we see today.

However, as the number of paper cards increased, it became cumbersome to handle, and players took inspiration from bone tiles and gradually switched to bone material. Stacking the tiles on the table made it easier to play. This marked the authentic inception of Mahjong.

As for the origin of the name “Mahjong,” there is no definitive evidence. It might have evolved through phonetic changes. The Wu dialect pronunciation of “鸟” (bird) is “diào,” so “马吊牌” became “马鸟牌” (Ma Bird Tiles), then “麻鸟牌” (Ma Bird Tiles), and finally “麻将牌” (Mahjong Tiles).

The suits “Tong,” “Tiao,” and “Wan” represent individual copper coins, strings of coins, and ten thousand coins, respectively. In the past, one hundred coins were called “一贯钱” (yī guàn qián), implying a continuous connection of money. The “Zhong,” “Fa,” and “Bai” are called “Jian Ling Pai” (箭令牌), where “Bai” represents a target, “Fa” represents shooting arrows, and “Zhong” signifies hitting the bullseye.

After the formation of Mahjong, people from all walks of life, including both the government and civilians, loved playing the game. One person who was particularly fortunate at the game composed a poem:

Today’s winning game, pairing up pairs of tiles,

Three honor tiles (Zhong, Fa, Bai) and four winds (East, South, West, North), a full hand with honors.

Flowers blossoming from Kong tiles, and the moon emerging from the bottom of the sea.

After the game disperses, avoiding friends from a distance, avoiding the sound of bamboo tiles.

Based on the above, we can understand the general trajectory of the formation of Mahjong:

Ancient Board Games:

箸 (Zhù) → 琼 (Qiōng) → Dice → Dice Grid (骰子格)

Bone Tiles (Current Mahjong):

(叶子戏) → 马吊牌 (纸牌, Paper Cards) → Mohe Pai (默和牌, Silent Combination Tiles) → 麻将牌 (Mahjong Tiles, Bone-Made)

Mahjong origins

Mahjong, also known as “Mahjongg” or “Mahjong tiles,” has various folk anecdotes about its origins:

  • Mahjong is played on a square table, representing the four cardinal directions (east, west, south, north) and the four seasons (spring, summer, autumn, winter). Each player is dealt thirteen tiles, symbolizing the thirteen weeks in a season. Since there are four seasons, totaling fifty-two weeks or 364 days, adding the winning tile represents the last day of the year, totaling 365 days, equivalent to a year.
  • Mahjong is believed to have originated in ancient grain warehouses. The conclusion was reached by Suzhou satirical writer “Xin Zhi” through research. Tai Cang in Jiangsu province was an imperial grain warehouse where rice was stored year-round to supply the entire country. Birds (sparrows) infested the warehouses, and soldiers guarding the warehouses started catching sparrows for entertainment. Warehouse officials provided bamboo tally sticks with inscribed characters as rewards. These sticks were used as tools for games, and eventually, this game evolved into Mahjong, with terms and gameplay related to catching sparrows. In the local dialect, sparrows were referred to as “majiang.” The game spread, and over time, the name evolved into “Mahjong tiles.”
  • The earliest recorded mention of Mahjong in China is found in the Song Dynasty’s “Mahjong Jing” (Mahjong Classic) by Yang Da Nian. The game continued to develop, but during the Qing Dynasty, the “One Sparrow” (One Bamboo) tile was removed, and the characters “公” (Duke), “侯” (Marquis), “将” (General), “相” (Minister), “文” (Civilian), “武” (Military), and “百” (Hundred) were used instead. These seven characters were suspected of being related to anti-Qing activities, and thus, they were banned. Later, during the Daoguang period, scholar Chen Shimen sailed on his brother’s ship, observing the crew gambling with inadequate tools. He improved the gambling tools by replacing the “公侯将相” with “东南西北风” (East, South, West, North, Wind). Chen also replaced the “百” with “中发白” (Red, Green, White), inspired by a remark made by one of the crew members. This led to the formation of today’s Mahjong tiles.
  • There are various legends about the origin of Mahjong. Some believe that it was invented by Confucius around 500 BC during his travels to spread his teachings. The three honor tiles, Red Dragon, Green Dragon, and White Dragon, represented the virtues of benevolence, sincerity, and filial piety, respectively. The historical evidence suggests that Mahjong likely originated during the Ming Dynasty and was originally called “Yezixi.” It later spread to the West in 1895 and became one of the most popular games in China and the world.
  • Mahjong, also known as “Mahjong tiles” or “Mahjongg,” has a history of over a thousand years and is considered an authentic national pastime. Its origin can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty. Legend has it that a man named Zhang Sui from Changle, Weizhou (now Changle County, Henan Province), was exceptionally intelligent from a young age and later became a monk with the monastic name “Yi Xing.” Yi Xing was a famous scientist who made significant contributions to astronomy and mathematics. Around 722 AD, he created a set of paper cards for entertainment. These “paper cards” had dimensions of 3.5 cm in width and 15 cm in length and were printed with patterns of myriads, strings, and circles. Later, seven additional tiles were added, resembling East, South, West, North, Red, Green, and White Dragons.
  • The myriads, strings, and circles in Mahjong originally represented ancient currency concepts. The circle represented a “tong” or bronze coin with a square hole in the center, and one hundred bronze coins were threaded together to form a “suo,” and one thousand suos equaled one “wan.” However, holding paper cards during the game was inconvenient and confusing. In response, the patterns on the paper cards were carved onto bamboo or bone pieces, creating a new set of hard tiles.

mahjong story

1.origin of sparrow

The origin of Mahjong tiles, also known as “Mahjong Pai” or “Mahjong Er Pai,” is widely believed to be associated with the practice of protecting grain warehouses in Taicang, Jiangsu. Historical records show that Taicang had a royal granary that stored rice all year round for “North-South grain transportation.” Due to the abundance of grain, sparrows were attracted to the warehouses, resulting in significant losses of stored grain. In order to reward those who caught the sparrows and protected the grain, bamboo tally sticks were used to keep track of the number of sparrows caught, and these sticks served as a form of payment. These tally sticks were engraved with various symbols and numbers, making them suitable for both viewing and gaming, as well as serving as vouchers for rewards.

The three basic suits of Mahjong tiles are named “Wan” (myriad), “Suo” (bundle), and “Tong” (barrel). The “Tong” suit is represented by the cross-section of a gun barrel, and “Tong” means barrel. The number of “Tong” tiles represents the number of gun barrels. “Suo” means “bundle” and represents a group of birds bound together, so the “Suo” tile has a bird symbol, and the number of “Suo” tiles determines the bonus points based on the number of birds caught. “Wan” represents a unit of reward money, and the number of “Wan” tiles corresponds to the amount of reward money.

Additionally, the directions “East,” “South,” “West,” and “North” are related to wind directions, as firing a gun at birds requires considering the wind direction. The tiles “Zhong” (Red Dragon), “Bai” (White Dragon), and “Fa” (Green Dragon) are related to shooting concepts: “Zhong” means “hit,” so it is in red color; “Bai” refers to a blank shot, and “Fa” represents rewarding, prosperity, or getting rich.

The terminology used in Mahjong gameplay is also related to the act of catching sparrows and protecting grain. For instance, “Peng” sounds similar to the sound of a gun firing, and “Hu” (winning hand) sounds like “Hu,” which is a type of hawk used for bird catching. Other terms such as “Chi” (to chow) and “Gang” (melded Kong) are also associated with bird-catching activities.

The name “Mahjong” is believed to have originated from the Taicang dialect, where “sparrow” (麻雀儿, pronounced as “mahjong er”) and “Mahjong” have similar sounds. In the Taicang dialect, “sparrow” is pronounced as “/tsiak/” and “er” is pronounced as “/ng/,” which combined sounds like “Mahjong.” The word “麻雀儿” eventually evolved into “麻将” (Mahjong) over time. During the Tang Dynasty, Mahjong spread to Japan and was still referred to as “Mahjong” there.

2.Origin of Yezige Drama:

During the Ming Dynasty, a person named Wan Bingtiao (or “Wan Bingzhang”) created Mahjong based on the game of Yezige Drama (叶子格戏). He used his name “Wan, Bing, Tiao” as the basis for three basic suits in the game.

3.Origin of Mahjong Tiles (马吊牌):

Some believe that Mahjong tiles, as well as playing cards and other entertainment games, evolved from ancient Chinese gambling games known as “Boxi” (博戏). The exact origins of ancient Boxi games are difficult to pinpoint, but they were mentioned in texts like “Shiji” (Records of the Grand Historian) and are believed to have existed since before the reign of King Zhou of the Shang Dynasty. The earliest form of Boxi was called “Liu Bo” (六博), which involved six sticks (resembling dice used in modern Mahjong) and 12 chess pieces.

According to the “Yan’s Family Instructions – Miscellaneous Arts,” Boxi games were further divided into “Dabo” (大博) and “Xiaobo” (小博). The rules of Dabo are now lost, but Xiaobo’s gameplay is recorded in the “Ancient Boxi Classic” (古博经). In Xiaobo, two players faced each other across a board with 12 lines. At both ends were “water” sections. Six black and six white chess pieces were placed on the board. Additionally, two fish were put in the water. Players took turns rolling dice (referred to as “qiong”) to determine the number of steps their chess pieces could move. When a chess piece reached the end, it would stand up and be called “Xiaoqi” (骁棋) or “Xiaoqi.” If a chess piece became Xiaoqi, it could go into the water to “catch fish” and win the game by obtaining six fish tokens. The remaining chess pieces were called “Sanqi” (散棋) or “Sanqi,” and they couldn’t move unless attacked by Xiaoqi.

4.Origin of Zheng He’s Voyage and the Invention of Mahjong:

During Zheng He’s voyages in the Ming Dynasty, there were no entertainment devices on board the ships. The crew could only pass the time by gambling with dice. However, during the long voyages, the crew became weary and homesick. Some even attempted mutiny and plotted to kill Zheng He. To stabilize the morale of the troops, Zheng He invented a new form of entertainment.

He used the foundation of paper cards, ivory tiles, and Pai Gow (a traditional Chinese gambling game) and created over 100 small wooden tiles. These tiles were organized based on the naval fleet structure. He carved the numbers 1 to 9 on “Tiao” (条) tiles, representing barrels of fresh water on the ship. He also carved the characters for “Dong,” “Xi,” “Nan,” and “Bei,” representing the four cardinal directions. Additionally, he used the symbol of money, “Wan” (万), and carved the numbers 1 to 9 on them. He then inscribed the phrase “Da Zhonghua Yao Bing Yiyu” (大中华耀兵异域), signifying the glorious Chinese soldiers exploring foreign lands.

Zheng He also carved a red tile with the character “Zhong” (中) to symbolize the target in the game, and he created four flower tiles representing the four seasons. The last tile was left blank as he couldn’t decide what to carve on it. This blank tile became known as the “Bai Ban” (白板).

During the first game, Zheng He, the vice admiral, the chief general, and Zheng He’s wife (even eunuchs could have wives) played together. After finalizing the rules, the entire crew started playing this game. There was a general with the surname “Ma” who played the game skillfully. Zheng He named the game “Ma Da Jiang Jun Pai” (麻大将军牌), which later evolved into “Mahjong” in the future.

where did mahjong originate

The first claim, widely circulated in the southern region, suggests that Mahjong, originally known as “sparrow tiles,” originated from Taicang in Jiangsu province.

Taicang, located on the southern bank of the Yangtze River Estuary, is a plain in the Yangtze River Delta and has been known as the “land of fish and rice” in Jiangnan since ancient times. It is said that during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, the King of Wu established granaries here. During the Yuan and Ming dynasties, a royal granary was also established in Taicang. Grain was transported by sea to the north, leading to the name “Taicang.”

At that time, Jiangsu was a major grain-producing province, and there was a saying: “When Suzhou and Hu (referring to Lake Tai) are abundant, the world is satisfied.” However, sparrows would often fly over and eat the grains. With no pollution and a favorable natural environment, birds thrived easily, causing significant grain losses in Taicang. Therefore, the local authorities called on various industries to join the industry of “sparrow hunting” to protect the grain in Taicang.

The local government introduced something called “sparrow tiles,” which were diverse. These tiles were used to record how many sparrows you killed, and rewards were distributed accordingly.

During that time, many soldiers stationed in Taicang had no families and, to pass the time, would play some gambling games. The props used in these games were “sparrow tiles,” which can be considered the embryonic form of Mahjong. The commonly seen Mahjong today consists of suits like bamboo, dots, and characters, along with winds (east, west, south, north), dragons (red, green, white), and totaling 136 tiles. According to research, the bamboo suit represents a bird, which is the sparrow that was hunted. The two bamboo tile resembles a bamboo joint, symbolizing the leg of a sparrow. Administrators would use the number of bird legs to distribute rewards to the soldiers. The dot suit represents the gunpowder used for hunting birds, and the character suit represents the monetary rewards given to the soldiers.

Regarding another claim about the origin of Mahjong related to Zheng He’s voyages:

During the Ming Dynasty, the famous Chinese navigator Zheng He embarked on seven voyages to the Western Seas (also known as the “Ming treasure voyages”), and Taicang served as both his departure and return point. Due to Zheng He’s seven voyages, Taicang was also known as the “number one port in the world.” During these voyages, Zheng He invented Mahjong to alleviate the soldiers’ boredom. In Mahjong, the dots represent the ropes on the ship, the bamboos represent the ship’s cannons, and the characters represent the soldiers’ rewards.

Finally, there’s a third claim popular in the northern regions, and some people believe it to be the most credible one:

During the Ming Dynasty, there was a person named Wan Bingtiao who admired the 108 heroes of Liangshan from the famous Chinese literary work “Water Margin.” He engraved the names of these heroes onto tiles, creating a set of 108 tiles. He divided the 108 tiles into three groups: the Ten Thousand set (Wan), the Dot set (Bing), and the Character set (Tiao). The East, South, West, North, and Red (Zhong) tiles symbolized the gathering of the 108 heroes from all directions to Liangshan. The Green (Fa) tile represented wealth, and the White (Bai) tile represented poverty, symbolizing that Liangshan had both rich and poor heroes. Hence, Mahjong has a total of 136 tiles.

In the Northeast and Huguang regions (a historical region covering parts of present-day Hubei and Hunan), a variant of “paper Mahjong” is prevalent, called “Kanpai” in the Northeast. These paper tiles clearly depict the images of the heroes from Liangshan, such as “Lu Junyi” on the Nine of Characters, “Song Jiang” on the Nine of Ten Thousand, and “Li Kui” on the Five of Ten Thousand, etc. Each paper Mahjong tile features one of the heroes from Liangshan. Even now, the tradition of “paper Mahjong” is still prevalent in Dongcun, Northeast China. I consider this to be the most credible claim about the origin of Mahjong.

In summary:

  • The most widely circulated claim suggests that Mahjong originated from Taicang in Jiangsu province, known as “sparrow tiles” initially, and used for rewarding soldiers for hunting sparrows to protect grain.
  • Another claim links the origin of Mahjong to the voyages of Zheng He, where the tiles represent various aspects of his maritime adventures.
  • The third claim, considered the most credible in the northern regions, attributes the invention of Mahjong to Wan Bingtiao, who engraved the names of the 108 heroes of Liangshan onto tiles.

when was mahjong invented?

Mahjong originated in China and its history can be traced back to three to four thousand years ago. There are various theories about the origin of Mahjong from different dynasties. Some claim it originated from the pre-Qin era game “Liu Bo,” others believe it evolved from the “Ma Diaopai” (leaf cards), and some say it has roots in the “Cha Maque” played by the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom army. Through a long history of evolution, Mahjong was mostly standardized during the mid-Qing Dynasty.

There is also a theory that Mahjong originated during the Tang Dynasty, evolving from the card game “Zhipai Peng Peng.” During the Tang Dynasty, there was a person named Zhang Sui, an astronomer and mathematician, who created a set of paper cards. Each card had the same size, 3.5 cm wide and 15 cm long, and was printed with the patterns of “Ten Thousand,” “Bamboo,” and “Dot.” Later, seven more cards were added, “East, South, West, North, Red, Green, White.”

Mahjong tiles have evolved over thousands of years through the fusion of various board games. During the mid-Qing Dynasty, from the reign of Emperor Daoguang to the end of the Qing Dynasty, a set of 144 tiles and the standard rule of 13 tiles per hand were established.

A genuine set of Mahjong tiles consists of six types and 42 patterns, including 108 numbered tiles (comprising the suits of Characters, Circles, and Bamboos), 16 Wind tiles (East, South, West, North), 12 Dragon tiles (Red, Green, White), and 8 Flower tiles (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Plum, Orchid, Bamboo, Chrysanthemum).

all the rules of Chinese mahjong?

Guangdong Mahjong

Leakage and Rejecting a Tile:

If Player A is in a “calling” state (ready to win) and Player B discards a tile that Player A can win with, but Player A chooses to pass and not win, then if Player C or Player D discards the same tile, Player A cannot win on that tile unless they make a “dynamic” move (e.g., Pong, Chow, Kong, or going Mahjong). Once a dynamic move is made, the rule of not being able to win on the same tile is lifted.

Multiple Players Winning on the Same Tile:

“Yi Pao San Xiang” or “One Gun Three Victories” is allowed. This means that if one player declares a win on a discarded tile, and multiple players can win on it, all of them can win, and each of them will score separately. If the dealer (banker) wins on this tile, they remain the dealer for the next round.

Fan (Scoring Units):

Guangdong Mahjong is known for “Fan,” which represents scoring units. Each Fan is worth 2 points.

Exploding Hand (Bao He):

Another characteristic of Guangdong Mahjong is “Exploding Hand” or “Bao He” (capped scoring). It means that there is a cap on the maximum number of Fan a hand can have. Any number of Fan above the cap will not be counted in the scoring, except for specific special hands like Thirteen Orphans, which can break the cap and score independently.

The cap for Exploding Hand is usually set at 3 Fan.

Taiwanese Mahjong

Sixteen Tiles: Each player starts with sixteen tiles at the beginning of the game.

Arrangement of Called and Pong Tiles: Similar to Jiangnan Mahjong (another regional variant).

Consecutive and Requesting to be the Dealer: “Consecutive dealer” means continuing as the dealer for the next round. Each time a player remains the dealer, the Fan count increases. Other players can request to “pull the dealer,” which means they delay settling the debt to the dealer, leaving one-third of the total points as a stake for the next round.

One Gun Three Victories: If one player discards a tile that three other players can win on, all three players can win, and their scores are counted separately.

Hangzhou Mahjong

Hangzhou Mahjong is known for its simplicity and emphasizes rules like “Bao Tou” (matching head), “Cai Piao” (floating wealth), and “Gang Kai” (kong open). It is straightforward, relaxing, and leisurely, focusing on a few specific tile patterns and fast winning as its main characteristics. The set consists of 136 tiles: bamboo, dots, characters, east, south, west, north winds, red dragon, green dragon, white dragon.

Nanchang Mahjong

The most distinctive feature of Nanchang Mahjong is that three non-repeated identical tiles can form a sequence, making it easier to win with the new tile pattern called “Shi San Lan” (Thirteen Rotten). Additionally, the use of more “hun” tiles (jokers) – “zheng jing” and “fu jing,” increases the likelihood of “Tian Hu” (winning on the first tile drawn) and “Di Hu” (winning on the second tile drawn). Moreover, the introduction of bonuses like “Ba Wang Jing” (Emperor Joker) and “Chong Guan” allows for the possibility of a “comeback” in one round.

Hefei Mahjong

Basic Rules:

“断幺九” (No Terminals or Honors): The set of tiles does not include 1s and 9s in any suit (Wan, Tiao, and Tong), nor any Wind tiles (East, South, West, North), and any Flower tiles.

“八枝” (Eight Branches): To win, a player must have at least one suit with eight or more tiles.

Winning Condition: Players cannot “Chow” or “Pong” tiles; they must win with a hand that satisfies the “八枝” (Eight Branches) requirement.

Dice Rolling:

Using two dice, roll once. The sum of the dice determines the starting point on the tile wall from which tiles are drawn. The minimum sum becomes the initial “敦数” (dun number). For example, if the sum is 4+5=9, it becomes “九自手” (starting from the 9th tile). Tiles are drawn from the player’s own tile wall, starting from the specified “敦数” (dun number).

Basic Rules –

A. In the first game, the first player to take a seat becomes the dealer (庄).

B. After the first game, the player who wins by “自摸” (Tsumo) becomes the dealer, and if there is no Tsumo, the player who declares a win becomes the dealer.

Winning Conditions –

Small Wins:

Four identical tiles at the beginning of the game (“四喜” – Four Happiness).

No pair of 2, 5, or 8 tiles at the beginning of the game (“无将和” – No Pairs of 2, 5, 8).

Missing one suit at the beginning of the game (“缺一色” – One Suit Missing).

Two sets of three consecutive tiles at the beginning of the game (“六顺” – Two Sets of Three Consecutive Tiles).

“平和” – Regular Hand (a hand with no special patterns).

Big Wins (“含小和” – Big Win that includes Small Wins):

“七小对” – Seven Pairs.

“碰碰和” – All Pungs.

“将将和” – All Pairs.

“清一色” – All One Suit.

“杠上花” – Winning on a tile just after declaring a Kong.

“抢杠和” – Winning on a tile just after someone declares a Kong.

“海底捞月” – Winning on the last tile drawn from the wall.

Super Big Wins:

“豪华七对” – Four sets of identical tiles (total of 14 pairs).

Combination of “杠上花” and either “碰碰和” or “将将和” or “清一色” or “全求人” or “海底捞月.”

Combination of “海底捞月” and either “碰碰和” or “将将和” or “清一色” or “全求人” or “七小对” or “豪华七对.”

Combination of “碰碰和” and either “将将和” or “全求人” or “海底捞月” or “杠上花” or “清一色.”

“全求人” – Winning on any discard.

Maximum Win:

Combination of “豪华七对,” “清一色,” and “海底捞月.”

Combination of “碰碰和,” “将将和,” “全求人,” and “海底捞月” or “杠上花.”

Other Rules:

Only Wan, Tiao, and Tong suits are used.

Rules for “海底牌漫游” (roaming the ocean), “扎鸟” (doubling the points), “通炮” (multiple players winning on the same discard), “补张” (drawing replacement tiles), “漏和” (waiting for a specific tile), “飘” (floating), and “相公” (paying double to the winner in certain situations) are applied.

Guizhou “Catch the Chicken” Mahjong:


Tile Set: The tile set includes 1-9 of Wan, Tiao, and Tong (characters, dots, and bamboo). Players can Pong and Kong but not Chow (no “eating” of tiles).

Catch the Chicken Mode: After winning, the next undrawn tile is revealed. For example, if a 2 of Wan is revealed, the 3 of Wan becomes the “Chicken” tile. If a 9 of Tiao is revealed, the 1 of Tiao becomes the “Chicken” tile, and so on. Some regions consider 1s as Chicken tiles as well, and the first discarded 1 is called the “Rush Chicken,” scoring 2 or 3 times. At the end of a round, players who are in the “Ready” state (waiting to win) and possess a Chicken tile add one Fan (scoring unit) for each Chicken tile, regardless of the tiles in their hand. Chicken tiles that are discarded and not used in Pongs or Kongs count as the player’s tiles. This unique feature can lead to players winning or losing money after a round.

Passport (通行证): A Kong is called a “Passport.” Players can win on others’ discards only if they have a Passport (a set of tiles that can be Kongs).

Sichuan Mahjong

Sichuan Mahjong follows the popular style of the Sichuan region, especially in Chengdu and its surrounding areas. The tile set includes only characters, dots, and bamboo; the “Missing Suit” (缺门可和) rule allows players to win without completing all three suits. In case of winning on a discard, only one player is responsible for paying. Winning with a Kong adds one Fan (scoring unit). Each Kong is worth one Fan. The last four tiles in hand must be eligible for a win; if they can be won, the player must declare a win.

Distinctive Features of Sichuan Mahjong:

Simple Mahjong (素麻将): No Chow allowed, only Pong and Kong.

“Missing Suit” Rule: Players can win without having all three suits (except in certain regions, like Nanchong).

Automatic Win with Last Four Tiles: The game ends automatically when a player has only four tiles left in hand, and they must declare a win if those tiles can be won.

Multiple Players Winning on the Same Discard: One discard can lead to multiple players winning (“一炮多响” – One Gun Multiple Victories).

“Guafeng Xiayu” (刮风下雨): Special rules related to winning on specific discards.

Chengdu Mahjong, also known as “Blood Battle to the End” (血战到底), requires players to be missing one suit. Once a player wins, if there are still a specified number of tiles on the table, the other players must continue playing until the game ends.

Sanxia Mahjong

Yichang Mahjong, also known as “Blood Flowing Like a River,” adopts the style of Sichuan’s popular Mahjong variant “Blood Battle to the End,” especially prevalent in the Three Gorges and surrounding areas. The core rules include playing with a “Missing Suit” (打缺门), exchanging three tiles at the beginning of the game (each player reveals three tiles of the same suit and rolls dice to determine who will exchange tiles with whom), playing until there are no more tiles on the table (the game continues after a win, with players drawing tiles continuously until the last tile is drawn), and checking “Hua Zhu” (三方牌, equivalent to “Broken Sets”) after the game.

Distinctive Features of Sanxia Mahjong

Exchanging Three Tiles: Players exchange three tiles with others at the beginning of the game.

Simple Mahjong (素麻将): No Chow allowed, only Pong and Kong.

“Missing Suit” Rule: Players can win without having all three suits.

One Gun Multiple Victories (一炮多响): One discard can lead to multiple players winning.

Continuous Play: The game continues after a win until the last tile is drawn from the wall.

Hebei Mahjong:

Hebei Mahjong is a variant where players can Pong but not Chow, and they can only win by self-drawing (no winning on discards). The game includes “Hun Er” (混儿, Jokers).

Wenzhou Mahjong

In Wenzhou Mahjong, there are four players: East, South, West, and North. The player with East seat as the starting dealer, and the direction of play is counterclockwise. If East wins consecutive hands, they remain the dealer, and the base points increase. After four consecutive hands, the seating positions are rearranged. Each player starts with 17 tiles in hand and aims to win by completing specific hand patterns through actions like Chow, Pong, and Kong.

Wenzhou Mahjong adds “Cai Shen” (财神, God of Wealth), which can substitute for any tile.

Note: The translation provided here is a general summary of the rules and characteristics of Sanxia Mahjong, Hebei Mahjong, and Wenzhou Mahjong. Variations may exist depending on local customs and specific rule sets.

Tianjin Mahjong

Features Hun Er (混儿, Red Dora) tiles (7 in total), which act as jokers or limited wild cards.

Specific hand patterns like “Hun Er Diao” (混儿吊), “Mei Hun Er” (没混儿), “Zhuo Wu Er” (捉伍儿), “Long” (龙), “Gang Kai” (杠开), and “Ben Hun Er Long” (本混儿龙) contribute to the scoring system through combinations of these patterns.

No Chows (eating) and no Pao He (winning on a discard).

No Seven Pairs or Thirteen Orphans hands.

Wuhan Mahjong

Wuhan Mahjong uses Red Dragon (Hong Zhong) as a wild Joker. To win, players need to have an open hand, which includes Pong, Kong, or Chi.

Two Red Dragons and “Pee He” (屁和) do not allow a player to win. Red Dragons must be kept in hand; they cannot be used for a winning hand.

Big Hands (大胡) include Pong Pong, All Pongs, All Kongs, One Suit, One Suit with Honors, All Honors, Robbing a Kong, Robbing a Kong with a Pong, and Winning on the Last Draw. Other hands are considered “Pee He” (屁和).

Guangshui Mahjong

Guangshui Mahjong, also known as “Fighting with Fists and Feet” (拳打脚踢), originated in the Suizhou area and became popular in Guangshui and the surrounding regions in northwest Hubei. It is a three-player Mahjong game that removes East, South, West, North, and Wan tiles (or one suit) from the tile set.

The rules and scoring system in Guangshui Mahjong are more complex. Players can Pong and Kong but not Chow, and only self-drawn or robbing a Kong hands are allowed for winning. Winning hands can include Pong Pong, Seven Pairs, One Suit, Big Three Dragons, and Catching the Fifth Star, among others. Each winning hand has corresponding scores, with the highest being 16 Fan. However, additional Fan can be added for Kongs. Players can only Pong and Kong, not Chow, which increases the chance of winning Big Hands.

Xiangyang Mahjong

Xiangyang Three-Player Ka Wu Xing is a popular game in the Xiangyang region. It uses a standard Mahjong set but removes the Wan (Characters) and East, South, West, North Winds, leaving a total of 84 tiles. The game is played by three players competing to be the first to win a hand. Xiangyang Mahjong features diverse hand patterns and fast-paced gameplay.

Changsha Mahjong

In Changsha Mahjong, the East, South, West, North Winds, Red Dragon, and Green Dragon tiles are removed from the set. The 2, 5, and 8 tiles serve as the dominant tiles. This variant aligns with the spirited and efficient nature of people in Changsha.

Hainan Mahjong

In Hainan Mahjong, “Fan” refers to the preconditions for winning a hand, rather than a multiplier. Different types of “Fan” include having 2, 5, or 8 as the Eyes (Jiang), Pong or Kong of Red, Green, or White Dragon, drawing specific Flower tiles, and having specific Winds correspond to Pong or Kong. Other “Fan” types include All Pong, Seven Pairs, No Honors, No Chows, Pong Pong, Clear One Suit, Mixed One Suit, and more. Self-draw is particularly valued, known as “Wu Fan Kao Zi Mo” (无番靠自摸).

Jinan Mahjong

  • The 2, 5, and 8 tiles must be used as Eyes (Jiang).
  • It follows the “Push and Fall” scoring, where winning from a discard grants each player 1 Fan.
  • Each Kong is worth 1 Fan.
  • When declaring “Ready” (Bao Ting) and winning with a drawn tile, it must be a Self-drawn win, worth 4 Fan for other players and 8 Fan for the dealer.
  • Winning with a discarded tile (Ming Da) is worth 8 Fan for the player and 16 Fan for the dealer.
  • Other rules are similar to standard Mahjong rules, and Flower tiles only add to the score without replacing tiles.

Taiyuan Mahjong

  • The first four tiles drawn are placed upright in front of the player. These tiles can be used to declare a win only when the player is in a “Ready” state, and they must be discarded before declaring a win.
  • Chows are not allowed, only Pongs and Kongs.
  • After declaring a Kong, the replacement tile is drawn from the back of the tile wall.
  • Once in the “Ready” state, players cannot change tiles or declare another Kong.
  • Only after declaring a “Ready” state can players win. The four upright tiles can be combined with the subsequent nine tiles to form melds or sets to declare a win.
  • No Chows, only Pongs and Kongs.
  • After declaring a Kong, the replacement tile is drawn from the back of the tile wall.
  • Once in the “Ready” state, players cannot change tiles or declare another Kong.
  • Only when in the “Ready” state, players can declare a win. The four upright tiles can be used to form melds or sets with the subsequent nine tiles to declare a win.
  • The tile wall must retain the last seven stacks of tiles. If a Kong is declared, one stack is retained, and subsequent Kongs retain additional stacks accordingly. Single tiles drawn at the end of the wall are not counted as a stack.
  • Players must declare a “Ready” state before winning.

Jinzhong Mahjong

  • Players cannot Chow (sequence), but they can Pong and Kong. After declaring a Kong, the player must draw a replacement tile from the back of the tile wall. Kongs are only counted as points when a player wins a hand. An exposed Kong (Ming Kong) is worth one point, and a concealed Kong (An Kong) is worth two points.
  • The tile wall must retain the last 7.5 stacks of tiles, and the last tile cannot be revealed or drawn.
  • Before starting the game, players must declare if they are “missing one suit.” This means a player’s hand cannot contain tiles from all three suits (Wan, Tiao, Tong); they must lack one suit. In this state, players cannot win with special hands like Thirteen Orphans (Shi San Yao) or Seven Unconnected Pairs (Qi Bu Ai).
  • If no player wins a hand, it results in a “flow” game, but the dealer remains the same, and a new round starts.
  • Before winning a hand, players must declare a “Ready” state (Ting). Once in this state, they cannot change tiles in their hand and are only allowed to declare a Kong or win the hand. The declared “Ready” tiles must be placed face down and can be placed in the discard pool or on top of the tile wall at the back.
  • A player can win a hand by declaring a Kong or winning just before the next player’s turn.
  • “False Win” (Zha Hu) includes declaring a win with invalid hand patterns (like in the “missing one suit” state) or not satisfying the conditions to win a hand (e.g., having too many or too few tiles). False Win results in losing to the other three players.
  • If a player discards a tile that allows another player to win, it is called “Pao” (pointing). Pao requires all three players to pay the points to the winning player (including the player who discarded the tile). If a player wins a hand after declaring “Ready” (Ting), the Pao points are not required.
  • Before the game starts, players roll dice to determine the starting dealer. The dealer is then selected based on the result of the dice roll. The dealer’s position changes counterclockwise after each hand, and the dealer’s points are doubled.
  • A common slogan for drawing tiles is “Three-Six-Nine equals Nine, everyone has it; Six-Seven-Three equals Eight, two draws are left; Six-Eight-Four equals One, one draw is left; Seven-Eight-Five equals Five, you suffer at both ends; Seven-Nine-Six equals Six, each end contributes.”
  • If in the first round, all players draw the same tile, it is called “Following the Dealer” (Gen Zhuang). The dealer pays each player one point. If in the second round, the same situation occurs, the dealer pays each player one point again, and so on until different tiles are drawn.

Fujian Mahjong

Active Wild Card: During the opening of tiles, the tile from the Kong’s tail is flipped to determine the wild card. One White Dragon can be used to replace the flipped tile. If the flipped tile is 3 of Wan, then 4 of Wan becomes the wild card. “带弟百搭” refers to sequential numbered tiles (9-1) being connected and the honor tiles (East, South, West, North, Red Dragon, and Green Dragon) being connected at the ends. So, if 9 of Wan is flipped, then 1 of Wan becomes the wild card; if North is flipped, then Red Dragon becomes the wild card.

Nanjing Mahjong

Flower Tiles: Nanjing Mahjong includes 20 flower tiles, which includes the Dragon tiles, so there are no Big Three Winds or Big Four Blessings. Dice Rolling: Usually, two dice are rolled twice. The first roll is made by the dealer, and the second roll is made by the player where the dice points to, and the tiles are drawn starting from that player in a counter-clockwise direction.

Yunnan Mahjong

Yunnan Mahjong is based on popular Mahjong rules in the Yuxi region. It includes four types of suits: Wan (Character), Tiao (Bamboo), Tong (Circle/Dot), and Zi (Honor tiles) with a total of 136 tiles. The game is played with four players, and each player starts with 13 tiles. Players cannot Chow (sequence) but can Pong and Kong, and they win a hand when their tiles meet specific winning conditions. Pinfu (All Chows) must be self-drawn and cannot be won from other players. Before the game starts, the last two tiles are flipped face up and serve as the “Kong-end” tiles. If a player can declare a Kong with a Kong-end tile, they must take it and flip a new tile.

Yunnan Mahjong Basic Rules and Scoring

  • Pinfu must be self-drawn, and higher-scoring hands can be won either by self-draw or by picking up a tile from another player.
  • When a player wins a hand by self-draw, all three other players pay points based on the hand’s value. When a player wins by picking up a discard from another player, only the discarder pays points based on the hand’s value.
  • If a player discards a tile that allows another player to win, it is called “pointing” (pao). Pao requires all three players to pay the points to the winning player (including the player who discarded the tile). If a player wins by self-draw, the pao points are not required.
  • During a player’s turn, they cannot change their mind about winning and discard another tile instead.
  • When there are only four tiles left, the round automatically ends, and the player must win the hand to claim the win.
  • If the game ends in a draw, the player with the highest score wins.

Anqing Mahjong

Zuan Pai (Drill Tile): A Zuan Pai can be used as a substitute for any other tile. The type of Zuan Pai is determined by the dice roll. The 2, 5, or 8 tile of the same suit as the Zuan Pai’s number plus 1 is considered the Zuan Pai for that round. For example, if the dice roll is 2, then the 3 of the same suit becomes the Zuan Pai; if it’s 9, then the 1 of the same suit becomes the Zuan Pai. For Wind and Dragon tiles, the order follows East, South, West, North, and the Red Dragon can be used as the Zuan Pai for the Green Dragon.

Hong Zhong (Red Dragon): The Red Dragon can act as the Zuan Pai for itself.

Fa (Bamboo): The Fa must be revealed and drawn from the back of the tile wall. When the Fa is not used as the Zuan Pai, the Green Dragon and Red Dragon become Fa, and only serve as Kong tiles and cannot be used to win.

Special Rule for Zuan Pai: The Zuan Pai acts as a “wild card,” replacing any tile to form combinations. Zuan Pai cannot be Ponged (since nobody discards it).

Determining Zuan Pai: After two dice rolls, the dealer rolls the dice again. The number rolled indicates the player to determine the Zuan Pai (starting from the dealer’s right, clockwise) by counting tiles from the unshuffled front section of the tile wall. The tile at the counted position is the Zuan Pai for the round. If the Zuan Pai is a Fa or the Red Dragon, then the other two become Kong tiles for the round.

Kong Tiles: If the Zuan Pai is not the Green or Red Dragon, then the Green and Red Dragon tiles become Kong tiles, which can only be used to form Kongs and cannot be used to win. For example, if the Zuan Pai is 7 of Bamboo, the Red Dragon and Green Dragon will act as Kong tiles for that round. The opposite case applies if the Zuan Pai is the Fa or the Red Dragon.

The remaining rules are similar to standard Mahjong rules, and Flower tiles only add to the score without replacing tiles.

how many tiles in mahjong wall?

In Mahjong, the number of tiles in the “wall” can vary depending on the specific regional or rule variations being played. However, in a standard game of Mahjong, there are typically 144 tiles in the wall.

The wall is the collection of tiles stacked face down in the center of the table from which players draw their tiles during the game. Each tile is 2.3 cm (about 0.9 inches) wide, 3.3 cm (about 1.3 inches) tall, and 1.7 cm (about 0.7 inches) thick. The wall is usually arranged into a square or rectangular shape.

The standard set of 144 tiles consists of the following:

  • 36 Circle tiles (also known as Dots)
  • 36 Bamboo tiles
  • 36 Character tiles (also known as Numbers)
  • 16 Wind tiles (East, South, West, North – 4 of each)
  • 12 Dragon tiles (Red, Green, White – 4 of each)
  • 8 Flower tiles (optional in some variations)

Each of these tiles is usually represented four times in the set, totaling 144 tiles. Before the game starts, the tiles are shuffled and used to construct the wall.

It’s worth noting that some regional variations or rule sets may include additional tiles or exclude certain tiles, leading to walls of different sizes. Additionally, some Mahjong games use additional tiles, such as joker tiles or animal tiles, but these are not part of the standard set of 144 tiles.

Basic Rules of Mahjong

Tile Discard

In Mahjong, each player needs to discard one tile from their hand during every turn, regardless of whether they have just drawn a tile, performed actions like “chow,” “pong,” or “kong.” After these actions, the player must still discard a tile. Therefore, tile discard is the most common operation in playing Mahjong.

Common Actions

The most common actions in Mahjong include:

Chow: When a player’s predecessor discards a tile that can form a sequence with two tiles in the player’s hand, they can place that tile together with the two tiles from their hand in front of them and call “chow.”

Pong: When any player discards a tile that can form a set with two tiles in the player’s hand, they can place that tile together with the two tiles from their hand in front of them and call “pong.”

Kong: Whether it’s another player’s discard or a tile they draw themselves, if a player has four identical tiles, they can place the four tiles in front of them. If they draw four identical tiles, it is a “concealed kong,” and they call “kong.” After declaring a kong, the player needs to draw an additional tile from the back end of the wall.

Winning a Hand

The most important point in winning a hand in Mahjong is that the player’s hand meets the requirements of a valid winning hand. Therefore, each player must thoroughly understand the following valid winning hands:

Basic Winning Hand: AA + ABC + AAA – In this winning hand, the player must have at least one pair in their hand, and the remaining tiles should form sequences or sets.

Special Winning Hands:

Seven Pairs: AA AA AA AA AA AA AA


Thirteen Orphans: AA A A A A A A A A A A A A

All Terminals and Honors: A A A A A A A A A A A A A A

The above are some special winning hands that can be represented by formulas. There are other special winning hands such as “pure hand,” where all the tiles in the winning hand belong to the same suit and meet the criteria of basic winning hands or special winning hands.

In addition to understanding the rules of winning hands, players also need to be familiar with the forms of winning. During the process of winning, there are two scenarios: “win by discard” when another player’s discard allows you to win, and “self-draw win” when you draw a tile that completes your winning hand.

Setting up and determining the dealer:

Setting up: The four players sit around the table and arrange their seating positions, labeled as East, South, West, and North. This process is called setting up.

Determining the dealer: The player sitting in the East position typically rolls the two dice. The sum of the dice determines the starting dealer in a counterclockwise direction. For example, if the sum is 9, the dealer will be the player to the North.

Shuffling and building the wall:

Shuffling: The tiles are placed face down, and the players thoroughly mix them to ensure a proper randomization. This process is called shuffling.

Building the wall: Two tiles are stacked together to form a pair, and 18 pairs are arranged in front of each player, forming a square grid with 18 stacks.

Dealing the tiles, rolling the dice, drawing and discarding tiles:

The dealer rolls the dice. If the result is 4, the starting point is the North wall. The dealer then rolls the dice again; if the result is 5, the total is 9. The dealer will start drawing tiles from the 10th stack (North wall) and continue counterclockwise. Each player takes 6 stacks of tiles, and the dealer draws an additional 2 tiles, while the other players draw 1 tile each. The dealer then discards the first tile to start the game.

Forming hands and melding tiles:

Players organize their tiles into four sets of three tiles each to form a complete hand. To complete a winning hand, players can exchange tiles, call for a “Chow” (sequence), “Pong” (triplet), or “Kong” (quadruplet), and declare a “Kan” (concealed kong) when they have four identical tiles.

Declaring a win:

The objective is to form a complete hand and declare a win. When a player is ready and needs only one more tile to complete the hand, they declare “Mahjong” and win the round. The winning player must announce it aloud by saying “Mahjong.”

Basic Mahjong Terminology

Chi (吃): Forming a sequence by picking up a tile discarded by the player to your left and combining it with two tiles from your hand.

Pung/Pong (碰): Forming a set of three identical tiles by picking up a tile discarded by another player and combining it with two identical tiles from your hand.

Kong/Gang (杠): Forming a set of four identical tiles. There are two types of Kongs: Ming

Kong (明杠) – Declaring a Kong by adding a tile to an exposed set on the table. An Kong (暗杠) – Declaring a concealed Kong by having four identical tiles in your hand without revealing them.

Hu (胡): Winning the hand by completing a legal winning hand with four sets and a pair or specific special patterns. This is the ultimate goal in Mahjong.

Ting (听): Reaching a state where a player needs only one more tile to complete a winning hand. Once in this state, the player cannot make any other moves except to declare Mahjong if the required tile is drawn.

Win (和): Declaring Mahjong, the winning state in the game, by completing a legal hand and satisfying the necessary conditions to win the round. The player who wins scores points based on the base points multiplied by the number of fan (doubling points for specific patterns).

筒 (Tong): Also known as “Bamboo,” it represents a top view of a granary storage structure. In Mahjong, the “筒” tiles are abstract representations of cylindrical granaries, with each tile depicting different stages of storage. For example, “一筒” (1 of Bamboo) represents the granary when it is just starting to be filled with grain, and “九筒” (9 of Bamboo) represents when the granary is almost full.

条 (Tiao): Also known as “Crack,” it represents a side view of the granary. When we stand and look at a granary, it appears like a cylindrical structure, and if we flatten it into a plane, we get a rectangular shape with textures. These textures represent the layers of matting used to tie and bundle the grains together within the granary.

幺鸡 (Yaoji): This tile replaces the “一条” (1 of Bamboo) tile. Its origin is linked to the annoyance of grain storage managers towards sparrows. In ancient times, grains were strictly controlled, and any loss of grain was severely punished. Sparrows often stole and nested inside the granaries, leading to grain losses. Therefore, the tile “幺鸡” was introduced as a reminder to deter sparrows and symbolizes the “1” tile in place of the “一条.”


what is the meaning of mahjong?

The term “Mahjong” (麻将) has several interpretations and potential origins, but its most widely accepted meaning is “sparrow” or “bird of hemp.” The name “Mahjong” is derived from the Chinese characters “麻” (ma) and “将” (jiang):

  • “麻” (ma) refers to “hemp” or “flax,” which was originally used to make the tiles for the game.
  • “将” (jiang) means “sparrow” or “bird.” It is said that the game was named Mahjong because the sound of shuffling and clicking the tiles reminded some players of the chirping of sparrows.

So, Mahjong can be understood as “sparrow tiles” or “bird of hemp tiles” due to the historical association with the materials used to create the game tiles.

mahjong Chinese new year

Mahjong is a common form of entertainment during the Chinese New Year, often a must-have activity during family gatherings and friend reunions. During the Chinese New Year, people typically spend a lot of time with their family and friends, and playing Mahjong is a great way to pass the time and strengthen bonds. Additionally, some people use Mahjong as a way to celebrate the arrival of the new year and express their good wishes for the coming year.

Mahjong also carries some special significance during the Chinese New Year. For example, there’s an old saying in China, “In times of prosperity, everyone rushes for gains; in times of adversity, everyone scrambles to avoid losses.” Mahjong embodies the pragmatic characteristics of Chinese values, where the tiles such as the characters, circles, and bamboo represent people’s greatest desires for wealth. Through playing Mahjong, people not only enjoy the fun of the game but also experience the rich cultural connotations of China.

In conclusion, Mahjong is a common form of entertainment during the Chinese New Year and a way to express good wishes for the new year. It also offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of China.

Mahjong in Taoism

Firstly, the connection between Mahjong culture and Taoist culture lies in their emphasis on balance and harmony. In Taoist culture, balance and harmony are crucial concepts. Taoism believes that everything in the universe is interdependent, and true self and universal harmony can only be achieved by maintaining balance and harmony. Similarly, in Mahjong culture, balance and harmony are also important concepts. In the game of Mahjong, players must adapt to the current state of play, balance their hand tiles, and maintain harmonious relationships with other players to win the game. This concept of balance and harmony is significant in both Mahjong culture and Taoist culture.

Secondly, the connection between Mahjong culture and Taoist culture lies in their emphasis on self-cultivation and inner strength (tile discipline). In Taoist culture, self-cultivation and inner strength are essential concepts. Taoism believes that true self and universal harmony can only be achieved through inner cultivation and strength. Similarly, in Mahjong culture, players must rely on their inner composure and skills to go with the flow and win the game. This concept of self-cultivation and inner strength is significant in both Mahjong culture and Taoist culture.

Thirdly, the connection between Mahjong culture and Taoist culture lies in their emphasis on the power of nature and the universe (fortune). In Taoist culture, the power of nature and the universe is crucial. Taoism believes that the power of nature and the universe is infinite, and true self and universal harmony can only be achieved through harmonizing with the power of nature and the universe. Similarly, in Mahjong culture, players must rely on the laws of nature and the universe, that is, the numerical changes and cultural practice. This concept of the power of nature and the universe is significant in both Mahjong culture and Taoist culture.

Finally, the connection between Mahjong culture and Taoist culture lies in their emphasis on human relationships (social etiquette). In Taoist culture, human relationships are essential concepts. Taoism believes that true self and universal harmony can only be achieved by establishing good relationships with others. Similarly, in Mahjong culture, players must establish good relationships with other players to win the game. This concept of human relationships is significant in both Mahjong culture and Taoist culture.

what does mahjong do to your brain?

Playing Mahjong has the following benefits for the brain:

  • Exercise for the brain.
  • Delay in cognitive decline. Playing the game requires memorizing various tile patterns and rules, which can help improve memory.
  • Maintaining a pleasant mood. It can expand one’s social circle and make new friends, which has certain benefits for overall well-being.

However, it’s essential to note that playing Mahjong should not be for extended periods, and excessive tension or excitement should be avoided. Otherwise, it may lead to adverse effects such as elevated blood pressure and cardiovascular problems.

mahjong vs chess

The similarities and differences between Mahjong and Chess are as follows:

Game Mechanism: Mahjong is an example of asymmetric information game with an element of luck, whereas Chess is a symmetric information game, and all piece movements are visible, providing consistent information to all players.

Origin: Mahjong originated from the common people, while Chess has various legends about its origin, such as Weiqi (Go) being invented by Yao to teach his son Dan Zhu, and Chess being invented by Han Xin to train his soldiers, but the exact origins are unknown.

Rules and Competitions: Although Mahjong is played widely, there is no unified set of rules, whereas Chess has relatively simple rules and is easy to standardize.

Reputation: Mahjong has a negative reputation and is often associated with gambling and lowbrow entertainment, whereas Chess has a relatively positive reputation and is not considered a representation of lowbrow entertainment.

In summary, while Mahjong and Chess share some similarities in terms of game mechanism, origin, rules, and reputation, they also have significant differences.

mahjong vs go

The similarities and differences between Mahjong and Go (also known as Weiqi or Baduk) are as follows:

Game Mechanism: Mahjong is an example of an incomplete information dynamic game, while Go is a complete information dynamic game. In Mahjong, each player holds asymmetric information because they only know their own hand of tiles and not the tiles held by other players. In contrast, in Go, both players have symmetric information and know the entire board’s situation and rules.

Board and Pieces: Mahjong’s board consists of 144 tiles, each with characters or symbols. Go’s board is a 19×19 grid with no specific pieces.

Winning Determination: In Mahjong, the winner is determined based on the combinations of tiles each player draws, with the first player to achieve a specific winning hand declared the winner. In Go, the winner is determined based on occupying territory and capturing opponent pieces, with the first player to occupy all feasible territory of the opponent or capture all opponent pieces declared the winner.

Strategy and Thinking Approach: Mahjong requires calculating probabilities and probability distributions to develop appropriate strategies. On the other hand, Go requires thinking in terms of the entire board and anticipating the opponent’s potential moves to devise corresponding strategies.

In summary, Mahjong and Go differ significantly in terms of game mechanism, board and pieces, winning determination, strategy, and thinking approach.

mahjong vs dominos

Mahjong and Dominoes are both games, but they have some differences:

Gameplay: Mahjong is a game played with four players, each taking turns as the dealer and drawing tiles. The objective is to form winning tile combinations and declare victory. Dominoes is a two-player game using rectangular tiles, where players arrange specific tile patterns on the game board through tile matching.

Rules: Mahjong has complex rules, including various winning tile combinations, ways to declare victory, and rotation of the dealer position. Dominoes, on the other hand, has relatively simple rules, mainly involving tile matching to form specific patterns.

Game Difficulty: Mahjong is relatively more challenging, requiring skills and strategic thinking, whereas Dominoes is relatively simpler to play.

In conclusion, while both Mahjong and Dominoes are games, they differ in gameplay, rules, and difficulty level.

traditional mahjong vs american mahjong

Chinese Mahjong and American Mahjong have some differences as follows:

Rules: Chinese Mahjong has relatively complex rules, including various winning tile combinations, ways to declare victory, and rotation of the dealer position. American Mahjong has relatively simpler rules, similar to Chinese Mahjong but with some differences, such as the inclusion of 8 extra Joker tiles and additional rules.

Tiles Style: Chinese Mahjong tiles have various Chinese characters and symbols, while American Mahjong tiles feature Western images and Arabic numerals.

History: Chinese Mahjong originated in China and has a long history and cultural heritage. American Mahjong was introduced to the United States in the 1920s from Chinese Mahjong and was adapted and simplified by Americans.

In conclusion, while Chinese Mahjong and American Mahjong differ in rules, tiles style, and history, both are popular forms of entertainment.

mahjong vs great wall

“Stacking the Great Wall” is a metaphor used to describe the process of playing Mahjong. During a Mahjong game, players need to arrange and stack the tiles in rows, similar to the construction of the Great Wall. Hence, the vivid expression of playing Mahjong as “Stacking the Great Wall.”

This metaphor is not only vivid but also profound. The Great Wall is a historical and cultural heritage of China, a monumental project built in ancient times to defend against northern nomadic tribes. Mahjong, on the other hand, is a traditional Chinese intellectual game with a long history and cultural significance. Comparing playing Mahjong to stacking the Great Wall not only depicts the process of the game but also reflects the intellectual and challenging aspects of Mahjong. It requires players to think and plan patiently, meticulously, and strategically, much like the construction of the Great Wall.

In summary, the metaphor of “Stacking the Great Wall” is not only visually descriptive but also deeply ingrained. While playing Mahjong, it also allows people to appreciate the richness and profundity of Chinese history and culture.

Chinese mahjong vs Japanese mahjong

Chinese Mahjong and Japanese Mahjong have the following similarities and differences:

Origin: Chinese Mahjong originated in China and was invented by ancient Chinese people as a gambling game. Japanese Mahjong developed based on Chinese Mahjong.

Gameplay Process: Chinese Mahjong involves the processes of shuffling, dealing, opening tiles, arranging tiles, inspecting tiles, adding flowers, and playing tiles. On the other hand, Japanese Mahjong has fixed actions at the beginning of each round, including shuffling, stacking tiles, matching tiles, dealing dora indicators, and rolling dice.

Tile Distribution: In Chinese Mahjong, after shuffling, each player receives 36 tiles, stacked in pairs to form 18 “duns” in total. In Japanese Mahjong, after shuffling, players are responsible for stacking one wall of tiles, forming a long wall.

Tile Size: Chinese Mahjong tiles are typically around 30mm to 43mm in size and are made of materials like wood or white jade. Japanese Mahjong tiles are much smaller, occupying about 1/3 of the size of Chinese Mahjong tiles, and are lighter in weight.

In conclusion, Chinese Mahjong and Japanese Mahjong have some differences in rules, gameplay, and tile size, but both are intellectual games that require players to think strategically and plan their moves.

The Influence of Mahjong in China

Mahjong sport not only possesses unique game features but also integrates intellectual, entertaining, and gambling elements, showcasing the rich and profound characteristics of Oriental culture. Therefore, it has become an essential part of China’s traditional cultural treasure trove. Mahjong is widely popular in both urban and rural areas of China, reaching various social strata and domains, making its way into countless households, and becoming one of the most influential intellectual sports activities in China. The objective existence of Mahjong sport is an undeniable reality in contemporary China.

As a traditional cultural phenomenon in China, Mahjong indeed displays various forms of expression. Due to its intriguing and entertaining nature, Mahjong is well-loved, widely spread, and highly influential. In the early 1920s, Mahjong cards were not only prevalent in Asia but also popular in Europe and America. Exported Mahjong cards often had Arabic numerals and English letters on the tiles. Many books and magazines detailing Mahjong strategies were published overseas. In countries like Japan, specific groups were dedicated to studying Mahjong cards, and national Mahjong championships were held regularly. In Europe and America, Mahjong is considered an antique reflecting Eastern charm and is preserved in finely carved boxes by collectors. With the advancement of modern science, electronic computers have permeated various aspects of life. Some have developed “Mahjong software” that allows people to play “sparrows battle” with the computer, bringing boundless joy. In China, Mahjong cards were once neglected for a period, but now they have become a form of leisure activity for many. Retired comrades find mental rejuvenation in playing a few rounds during leisure time. Families gather during holidays to enjoy festive Mahjong games. Mahjong has become a popular, healthy recreational activity.

The foundation of Mahjong patterns dates back to the Ming Dynasty’s paper card game “Madiao.” The scholar Gu Yanwu’s “Rizhi Lu” mentioned, “At the end of the Wanli era (around 1600), there was peace and nothing to do, and gentlemen found companionship in gambling, with the game ‘Madiao’ played until the early years of the Tianqi era (1621-1627).” Another contemporary Ningbo literatus, Li Ye, wrote “Madao Shuo,” supporting the above view. Worth noting is that the spreading of Mahjong has an interesting historical record. Du Yachuan’s “Bo Shi” claims, “It is said that Mahjong cards were initially prevalent in coastal areas of Fujian and Guangdong, as well as on ships, and later spread from Jiangxia, Ningbo, to the ports of Tianjin and Shanghai in the early Guangxu years (1875-1908).” In other words, Mahjong appeared in Ningbo during the late Qing Dynasty and then spread nationwide. Ningbo’s role in the formation of Mahjong lies not only in its dissemination but also in its innovation. In the Qing Dynasty, a renowned figure named Chen Zhengyao, also known as Yumen, lived in Jiangci Lane within the city. He had a close relationship with British Consul Francis A. J. Cooper and eventually moved to the foreigner’s residence in Jiangbei. He even taught British diplomats how to play Mahjong. This event is well-supported by memoirs of the British of that era. Chen’s descendants proudly claim, “Mahjong was invented by our forefather.” The residents of Jiangci Lane are still aware of “Master Chen (Chen Yumen) invented Mahjong.” Mahjong is pronounced as “Majiang” in the Ningbo dialect, which is because Chen Yumen innovated a pair of “sparrows” in the game of bone-tiles Mahjong. Today, the Japanese still write “Mahjong” but pronounce it differently; the Japanese pronunciation of Mahjong terms is also based on the Ningbo dialect. At the same time, Chen Yumen also created “gang,” “chi,” and the use of dice for positioning. In conclusion, Mahjong is a form of bone-tile gambling created by Ningbo native Chen Yumen based on the basic patterns of “Madiao” and “Paigow.” It spread from Ningbo to other regions, originating approximately during the reigns of the Qing emperors Tongzhi and Guangxu (1862-1908). Mahjong is pronounced as “Majiang” in the Ningbo dialect, and strictly speaking, it should be written as “Majiang.”

The Impact of Mahjong on the World

Mahjong, a small pastime played in the palms of people’s hands, is known to everyone in any Chinese city by its clacking sound. However, at its inception, it was considered a “national essence” and a specific representation of the Chinese “national character.” In the early 20th century, it even traveled overseas and gained popularity in England, America, and other places. In the 1930s, American women would spend their days playing Mahjong while soaking in swimming pools in California. For them, this slippery little pastime combined exotic romance with the essence of ancient Chinese wisdom, symbolizing Chinese culture.

As early as the 1920s, Mahjong had made its way to Europe from America and briefly gained popularity there. Around 1920, American businessman Joseph Babcock introduced Mahjong from Shanghai to the United States. He wrote a booklet, standardized English terminology, named the game “Mah-Jong,” and held the copyright. In the United States alone, over 131,000 sets of Mahjong were sold out in 1922, with prices reaching $500 per set, while a high-quality set could fetch up to $100. In 1923, sales soared to one and a half million sets, and at that time, 15 million Americans were playing Mahjong, with the majority being housewives.

After Babcock brought Mahjong to the United States, it spread to Europe within a few years. In the 1920s, Mahjong gained popularity in the United States, England, and Australia, with even some royal nobles becoming fans of this “Chinese national sport.” Regarding the development of Mahjong in Europe, it is worth mentioning the Netherlands, which still retains most of the original rules. In the 1920s, the Netherlands established a “Dutch Mahjong Association,” but due to confusion and misunderstandings about the game’s rules, it soon disbanded. After the decline of the “Dutch Mahjong Association,” the Dutch only played the game at home with relatives, friends, or small clubs and did not compete with other groups. However, in the early 1990s, a club called the “First Dutch Mahjong Society” formulated a series of Mahjong rules for their early matches, which were essentially based on the rules passed on by J.P. Babcock to the West. This only Mahjong competition in the Netherlands was called the Dutch Championship.

Mahjong is a Chinese invention, and there is a saying, “Out of one billion people, nine hundred million play Mahjong, and the remaining one hundred million are observing.” However, the presence of Mahjong has already extended worldwide, and this is not only due to the dissemination by Chinese people but also the charm of Mahjong itself.

When Chinese people win at bridge or snooker, they say, “I won.” But when the English play Mahjong and win, they say, “I hu-ed.” Compared to other imported games, the overseas journey of Chinese Mahjong is truly original and authentic. Not only “I hu-ed,” but even expressions like “chi” and “peng” are used in their original form on Western Mahjong tables. These terms are short and powerful, requiring no explanation, seamlessly integrating with 20th-century Western culture.

The popularity of Mahjong in Japan began in the mid-1920s, with small mentions in newspapers. At first, it was only limited to the leisure class and male and female students who were open to new things. Mahjong appeared in cafes and high-end restaurants, drawing prominent figures, painters, and officials, such as Hiroshi Mitsuzawa and Shosaku Sasaki, to cafes in the Kagurazaka area of Tokyo. By 1925, the serialization of the Chikamatsu Kanto novel “The Second Kiss” in the Asahi Shimbun described a scene of four people playing Mahjong, indicating that Mahjong had already permeated many people’s lives. In the Showa era, it became a craze, and many Mahjong enthusiasts’ groups emerged.

In 2011, more than 200 players participated in the first North American Mahjong Championship. The association decided to hold the championship annually. The champion of this competition not only receives a $2,500 prize but also gains the privilege of being “crowned” as the champion the following year.

The organizers believe that holding these competitions not only provides opportunities for Mahjong enthusiasts to gather but also allows them to make new friends. One participant from Texas, Matt Berg, said, “I have been playing Mahjong online all along. This competition excites me because it’s different from playing with real players. I am looking forward to participating in an international Mahjong championship.”

The Netherlands is the “bridgehead” of Mahjong in Europe, where the game started and spread to various European countries. In 2005, Dutch Mahjong enthusiasts formed the “Dutch Mahjong Association.” Subsequently, Mahjong associations emerged in other European countries. In the same year, seven countries, including Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and the Netherlands, proposed the establishment of the European Mahjong Association in Denmark and held the first European Mahjong Championship that year. The staff of the association stated that the European Mahjong Association is a non-profit organization without political or religious elements, and their goal is solely to promote Mahjong in Europe and make more Europeans fall in love with this ancient sport from China.

Mahjong tiles feature Chinese characters, so foreign friends who enjoy the game need to have some understanding of Chinese characters to play. A foreign friend who was new to Mahjong created a list of Chinese characters as a reference. Thus, whenever he looked down at the list, he knew he had drawn a character tile.

In conclusion, Mahjong, this unique and captivating game, has traversed the globe, and its charm transcends cultural boundaries, making it a beloved pastime for people from all walks of life worldwide.

is mahjong harder than bridge

Mahjong is simpler than Bridge.

Bridge requires some mathematical calculations and strategies, while Mahjong relies mainly on luck. The rules of Bridge are relatively complex, involving scoring, bidding, playing, and winning conditions, all of which require certain skills and coordination. On the other hand, Mahjong has relatively simple rules, and players only need to understand the basic rules and tile combinations, making it easier to pick up.

In summary, Mahjong is simpler than Bridge, but both games are intellectual activities that require a certain level of skill and luck.

Dream of Mahjong

Dreams about Mahjong can have various meanings:

Dreaming of playing Mahjong suggests a good opportunity to showcase your talents and receive recognition and respect in your professional field. However, it may also indicate intense competition and potential tension among colleagues if you resort to unethical means to gain an advantage.

Dreaming of buying Mahjong indicates financial hardships.

Dreaming of not being able to find Mahjong is a positive sign, indicating that your worries and troubles will soon find a satisfactory resolution, leading to a better situation.

Dreaming of stealing Mahjong signifies that you may encounter difficulties, but with careful attention and perseverance, you have the ability to overcome them.

Different colors of Mahjong in your dream may imply different things:

Black Mahjong suggests laziness.

White Mahjong indicates that you can achieve honor and wealth through courage and perseverance in adverse circumstances.

Gold Mahjong suggests feeling restricted in work or relationships.

Silver Mahjong symbolizes control and authority.

Colored Mahjong represents friendship and social connections.

Dreams about Mahjong may have different meanings for different individuals, depending on their gender and occupation. For example:

For men, dreaming of Mahjong may indicate negative impacts on their career due to the indifference of companions and disobedience from subordinates. In relationships, it could indicate arguments and jealousy.

For women, dreaming of Mahjong signifies the potential to make like-minded friends.

Pregnant women dreaming of Mahjong may suggest the possibility of giving birth to a child.

Businessmen dreaming of Mahjong may indicate difficulties in dealing with real-life situations.

Children dreaming of Mahjong should be cautious as it may imply potential accidents or injuries during competitions.

Patients dreaming of Mahjong may indicate an ongoing illness that requires proper care and exercise for recovery.

Elderly individuals dreaming of Mahjong is considered very auspicious, suggesting prosperity and security for their family and descendants.

Specific occupations may have different interpretations:

Farmers dreaming of Mahjong may desire better communication and improved interpersonal relationships.

Travelers dreaming of Mahjong may indicate concerns about someone’s health.

Poor individuals dreaming of Mahjong is a positive sign, suggesting opportunities for fame, status, and wealth through hard work and patience.

Dreams about marital status and love life:

Married women dreaming of Mahjong signifies a smooth and successful love life.

Married men dreaming of Mahjong suggests good health and a long life.

Single women dreaming of Mahjong implies sexual frustration and desires.

Single men dreaming of Mahjong is a positive sign, indicating success in love, but caution is needed to avoid arrogance and potential breakups.

White-collar workers dreaming of Mahjong signifies an increase in financial luck, with many seemingly hopeless situations having potential turnarounds, leading to good fortune in real life.

Couples in love dreaming of Mahjong indicates smooth progress in their relationship, with the other person growing fonder of you.

Lawyers dreaming of Mahjong may indicate dissatisfaction with themselves.

People born in the Year of the Rat dreaming of Mahjong suggests that their recent luck may be average, and they might experience unstable emotions. They should be cautious about revealing personal information as it may be leaked by others.

People born in the Year of the Ox dreaming of Mahjong indicates that no obstacles can prevent them from achieving their highest pursuits.

People born in the Year of the Tiger dreaming of Mahjong signifies upcoming lifestyle changes.

People born in the Year of the Rabbit dreaming of Mahjong suggests a lack of material satisfaction in some aspects of life.

People born in the Year of the Dragon dreaming of Mahjong signifies unpleasant disputes and conflicts.

People born in the Year of the Snake dreaming of Mahjong suggests progress and gains, but they may lose a friend.

People born in the Year of the Horse dreaming of Mahjong symbolizes a promotion or advancement in their career due to their efforts being recognized by superiors.

People born in the Year of the Sheep dreaming of Mahjong suggests difficulties in their plans.

People born in the Year of the Monkey dreaming of Mahjong is an auspicious sign indicating happiness in life, and their wishes and plans can be fulfilled.

People born in the Year of the Rooster dreaming of Mahjong is an ominous sign suggesting possible subjugation or enslavement.

People born in the Year of the Dog dreaming of Mahjong suggests a change in their circumstances, possibly involving a friend’s misfortune leading to their liberation and acquiring wealth.

People born in the Year of the Pig dreaming of Mahjong symbolizes their strong will, kind character, and amiable attitude.

Dreaming of Mahjong at night suggests thriving career prospects.

Dreaming of Mahjong in the middle of the night indicates the possibility of making a fortune.

Dreaming of Mahjong in the early morning implies a change in your approach to work.

Dreaming of Mahjong in the early morning may suggest health issues related to stress.

Dreaming of Mahjong in the dawn symbolizes loss, disappointment, and a significant decline in life, even leading to a loss of self-identity.

Dreaming of Mahjong in the morning represents your ambitions and goals.

Dreaming of Mahjong in the morning suggests the possibility of a promotion and salary increase.

Dreaming of Mahjong in the afternoon generally foretells a bright future and fruitful rewards.

Dreaming of Mahjong in the evening indicates good recent luck, and something you’ve desired for a long time might be given to you soon.

Overall fortune of dreaming about Mahjong:

Career: You might exhibit negative tendencies at work, and there’s a risk of being fired.

Love: Love life is progressing smoothly, and mutual affection is strong.

Health: You are radiant and healthy.

Wealth: It is an ominous sign, and there is a possibility of business bankruptcy.


Even today, Mahjong continues to be a popular game all over the world, especially in Asia. Manufacturers are continually producing the Mahjong sets with the largest retailer being the Regency Chess Company in England. One of the main reasons for its continued popularity is its reference in anime and manga as well as its success as a computerized game moving into the 21st century.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top