I really love the Chinese game of Mahjongg, a beautifully simple, elegant and peaceful game that has a complex history, a grand tradition and is played widely to this day across the world. Mahjongg was introduced to the West in the 1920s via America.
My dad, who knows nothing about Mahjongg, but knows I love it, gave me this beautiful set for Christmas. He picked it up at a local market and was entirely unsure of its value or even if the game was intact. By doing a search on some faint text on the box I was able to determine that it is an English version made in the early 1920s by the Chad Valley Mahjongg Company. It is complete except for dice and counters which are not crucial and are easily substituted. There is a delightful 'hand-made' quality about the set and it speaks of an age where machines did not spew things out with rigorous precision and in vast quantities.
The tiles in the picture above are, from left to right:
The five of Bamboo (or Sticks), the East Wind, The Red Dragon, the seven of Circles (or Coins, or Dots) and the seven of Characters (or Numbers, or Cracks).