Antique Mah Jong Set

Hanley Family Artifact
Mah Jong is a well known Chinese tile game. There is debate about how long it has been
in existence and where it actually began but we know that it was being played in China in
the 1800s and was brought to the United States in the 1920s where it became extremely
popular. The game was banned in China in 1949 when the People’s Republic of China
outlawed it and other gambling activities that were viewed as a representation of capitalist
corruption.
Mah Jong was brought back in China during the Cultural Revolution but without the
gambling element. It did not become legal to play the original version again until 1985.
Singer, Eddie Cantor, sang and recorded the song Since Ma is Playing Mah Jong during
the 1920s when the game became a popular pastime for women in the United States.