Chinese chess cards

1 ... r-juergen/
German source, English translation by Google translator: ... r-juergen/


CMU School of Computer Science
Rules for Si Se Pai / the information presents the game in the category Rummy games points to this file ... cs/gp/ssp/ points also to this Vienamese version (Tu-Sac Instruction) :


English Wikipedia presents a summary ... "Four color cards"


altacarta Rolf Zimmermann (2006)
Verschiedene Typen Chinesischer Karten ... Typen.html
German text, English translation by Google translator: ... r_pto=wapp

altacarta Rolf Zimmermann (2006)
Die verschollenen Spielkarten Zentralasiens ... Typen.html
German text, English translation by Google translator: ... r_pto=wapp

WWPCM, World Web Playing Card Museum ... All countries ... Chinese playing cards


Turfan-Expedition ... /home.html
German text, English translation by Google translator: ... r_pto=wapp

Turfan card, estimated to be from c1100, alternatively from c1400
Image ... iatisch%29
German text, English translation by Google translator:
https://de-m-wikipedia-org.translate.go ... r_pto=wapp

Re: Chinese chess cards

Playing Cards: One of the Earliest Forms of Block Printing - 1007 to 1072
Quote of "(Carter, Invention of Printing in China 2nd ed [1955] 184)"




Dr. Karen Carr: Who invented playing cards? China ... -china.htm


.... given as Mamluk playing card c1300



Sir William Henry Wilkinson .... "(1858 - 1930) was a British sinologist who served as Consul-General for the United Kingdom in China and Korea. He was also a playing card collector and card game enthusiast."

Earlier studies:
His major contribution to Playing Card History became a short article in "The American Anthropologist", Volume VIII, January 1895, Pages 61-78, in which Wilkinson suggested the Chinese origin of the playing cards.
Beside his general suggestion to the playing card origin Wilkinson made the proposal, that the Italian Tarocchi trumps developed from Chinese domino cards:
"What these tarots were originally has puzzled all writers on cards, nor has any one, so far is I am aware, ever attempted to account for their, number, 22. Yet it is exceedingly probable that in them we have the set of twenty-one natural dominoes which [Page 77] forms the base of nearly all Chinese card games that derive their marks from dice. A domino is, of course, nothing but a pair of dice placed side by side (whence the mark across its face), and the number of possible combinations of two dice is 6.7/1.2, or 21."
Wilkinson article 1895: ... inson.html


Wilkinson mentions in his text a "Professor Hoffmann", who wrote an encyclopedia of games. I found this book, which is described here .... ... 1166999874
The "Book of Table Games" is a comprehensive guide to a wide variety of traditional and modern tabletop games, written by Professor Hoffmann and first published in 1894. The book covers a range of games, including card games, board games, and dice games, providing detailed rules and instructions for each one. The games are organized into chapters based on their type and complexity, with introductory sections that provide historical and cultural context for each game.The book begins with an overview of card games, including popular games like poker, whist, and bridge, as well as lesser-known games like piquet and �����cart�����. The chapter on board games covers classics like chess and checkers, as well as more obscure games like fox and geese and nine men's morris. The section on dice games includes games of chance like craps and hazard, as well as strategic games like backgammon.Throughout the book, Hoffmann provides tips and strategies for winning each game, as well as advice on etiquette and good sportsmanship. He also includes illustrations and diagrams to help readers understand the rules and gameplay.Overall, The Book of Table Games is a valuable resource for anyone interested in traditional games and their history, as well as for those looking to expand their repertoire of tabletop games. Its timeless appeal makes it a must-read for game enthusiasts of all ages. ....
It's presented by google books ... ... &q&f=false

Re: Chinese chess cards

Huck wrote: 04 Feb 2024, 20:14 Turfan card, estimated to be from c1100, alternatively from c1400
Depaulis alerted Ross about the history behind this card. I agree with Depaulis that this card is best dated to the 1500s. Andrew Lo translates the text as "Made by Guan Huanhe", meaning this is a maker's card. I think it's still significant in that it is a precursor to the Zero Cash card described by Pan Zhiheng and Feng Menglong in the early 1600s. A western equivalent would be in the Italian game of Cuccù, where a maker's card was converted into an actual game card known as the lion by 19th century players.

Re: Chinese chess cards

Thank you for your infomation and for your opinion, and nice to meet you again, Ludophone.

The argumentation for the c1100 date isn't considered, and this should be done. Well, it doesn't look easy to understand the situation of Tufan in 1100.

German Turfan expeditions, German wikipedia text ... peditionen
English translation by Google translator
https://de-m-wikipedia-org.translate.go ... r_pto=wapp

English wikipedia text, which is longer than the German text


There is an Archiv: ....

Das Archiv der Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zählt mit seinen bis in das letzte Jahrzehnt des 17. Jahrhunderts reichenden archivalischen Quellenüberlieferungen zu den ältesten und reichhaltigsten Akademiearchiven der Welt.
.... translated: The archive of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, with its archival sources dating back to the last decade of the 17th century, is one of the oldest and richest academy archives in the world.

The webpage is a labyrinth. Somewhere in this djungle should be the 4 Tarfun expeditions and its result with ....
1. Expedition: November 1902 – März 1903 (Leiter: Grünwedel) ... 5 months
2. Expedition: November 1904 – August 1905 (Leiter: Le Coq) ... 10 months
3. Expedition: vereinigte sich mit 2. Expedition Dezember 1905 - April 1907 (Leiter: Grünwedel) ... 17 months
4. Expedition: Dezember 1913 – Januar 1914 (Leiter: Le Coq) .... 2 months
.... roughly 34 months totally in 12 years
... and 40.000 text fragments and 1000s of picture fragments (of which I don't understand, if these were collected at the first exploration or if this is the total number of the treasures). So let's take a closer look ...

Main article: Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves .... [leads to .... long article ]
Further information: Kingdom of Qocho .... [leads to ... long article ]

International attention was first drawn to Turfan by Sven Hedin (1865-1952), ...
.... to European and Japanese archaeologists, as a potential and promising site in Central Asia for field explorations for archaeological finds. He could follow up the work in later years during his last expeditions between 1928 and 1935. His collections of that period are in the Stockholm Ethnographical Museum. After his first suggestion to the archeologist about the archaeological richness of the Turfan site, many Russian expeditions were mounted from September 27 to November 21, 1879 .....
---- ... if I believe this, Swen Hedin was then 14 years old ...
.... right up to 1914–1915, Finnish expeditions from 1906 to 1908, by Japan between July 1908 and June 1914, and also other explorers from Great Britain, France and America; and from 1928 Chinese archaeological campaigns continued the work of the foreign expeditions. German expeditions from 1902 and 1914 not only to Turfan but also other sites such as Kucha, Qarashahr and Tumshuq [Tumšuq] were most fruitful.[5] Toward the end of the nineteenth century, Germans were impressed by the discoveries and finds reported by Europeans traveling through the Silk Roads and the exposition made at the twelfth international Congress of Orientalists in Rome in the year 1899 prompted them to launch their own expeditions to the area. The finds of the four expeditions (packed and carted to Germany initially) were murals, other artefacts and about 40,000 pieces of texts.[6] The four German expeditions covered Turfan but also Kucha, Qarashahr and Tumshuq [Tumšuq]. The expeditions were:[5][6]

Art work from the German Turfan expeditions
First Expedition: November 1902 – March 1903 led by Prof. Grünwedel along with the Orientalist scholar, Georg Huth,[7] and Bartus, as fellow participants;
Second Expedition: November 1904 – August 1905 led by Le Coq along with Bartus;
Third Expedition: united with the second Expedition, from December 1905 to April 1907 led by Grünwedel and Le Coq, H. Pohrt and Bartus as fellow participants;
Fourth Expedition: June 1913 – February 1914 led by Le Coq along with Bartus as a participant.
First Expedition
The financing for the expedition involved 36,000 Marks which was provided by the Königliche Museum für Völkerkunde in Berlin, by James Simon (benefactor of museums), Krupp house, the Prussian Government and an “Ethnologisches Hilfskomitee.”[5] The first Expedition from December, 1902 to April 1903, led by Prof. A. Grünwedel along with Dr. G. Huth and Theodor Bartus, followed the route from Yining to Ürümqi to Turfan Oasis when paintings, statues and manuscripts were found and carted in 46 crates,[6] and the zoological objects in plus 13 crates. The detailed account of the expedition was published in Grünwedel's book titled "Bericht über archäologische Arbeiten in Idikutschari und Umgebung im Winter 1902-1903", Abhandlungen der Königlich Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, I. Kl., XXIV. Bd., München 1906.[5]
So it was the first exploration alone, which already had 40.000 text fragments. The Turfan card (c1100 or c1400 or 16th century was found in 1905, I've read somewhere) with a rather limited size and a very humble appearance, looks not very important in the total context,
German wikipedia has the following sentence: "Der älteste Beleg ist die Turfankarte, die nach den Fundumständen auf das 11. Jahrhundert zu datieren ist.." in the article ... ... iatisch%29
..., translated it means "The oldest evidence is the Turfan map, which, based on the circumstances of the discovery, can be dated to the 11th century." and the word "map" should be replaced by the word "playing card". Well, it should mean, that the card was found close to items, which were datable to the time c1100. If this was correct or not is difficult to decide more than 100 years later. Perhaps one can find the first reports about the Turfan card.

Re: Chinese chess cards

Ross in 2020 wrote anote about .... viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1841&p=22647&hilit=Hoshour#p22647
Ben Hoshour's just published Origins of the Minor Arcana: A Guidebook to the Ancestral Influences that Shaped the Tarot's Minor Arcana (IngramSpark, 2020)
It has now a presentation with 85 of 166 pages. ... navlinks_s
The presented topics relate also to the "Turfan card".

Ben Hoshour has a linkedin presentation.


A History of Playing Cards and a Bibliography of Cards and Gaming by Catherine Perry Hargrave
Courier Corporation, 01.01.2000 - 462 pages
.... has at page 7 the follwing note ... 05&f=false
Found in 1905 by Dr. A. von Le Coq with fragments of manuscripts of the Uigur period in the glen of Sangim near Turfan, Chinese Turkestan. This card, which corresponds to the Red Flower of the present Chinese pack, presumably is not later than the eleventh century A.D., and probably is the oldest known playing card.
The seal over the man's head denotes money, three fan, and the characters at the top and bottom give the maker's name. (From Stewart Culin, in 'The Game of Ma Jong.')
Stewart Culin has another publication ...
Chinese Games with Dice and Dominoes by Stewart Culin
U.S. Government Printing Office, 1895 ... navlinks_s


Here is a article, which is possibly of interest

A Short Account of the Origin, Journey, and Results of the First Royal Prussian (Second German) Expedition to Turfan in Chinese Turkistan
A. V. Le Coq
The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
(Apr., 1909), pp. 299-322 (24 pages)
Published By: Cambridge University Press


Re: Chinese chess cards

The second Turfan card is the 80 Myriad and depicts a character from the Water Margin, a novel from the early 16th century that's part of a longer story cycle. This cycle, however, is very loosely based on an actual rebellion that happened in the twelfth century. That renders any eleventh century date impossible.

In the original account of the rebellion, only the leader, Song Jiang, is identified. His companions were added in the following centuries by later writers. The 80 Myriad found in Turfan depicts Zhu Tong. This is in complete agreement with Pan Zhiheng's account in the early 17th century, but Zhu Tong is absent from Lu Rong's 15th century description since the Water Margin was not yet composed. His characters are from earlier versions of the story cycle. He cites the Miscellaneous Observations from the Year of Guixin and Old Incidents in the Xuanhe Period of the Great Song Dynasty, both of which are 13th century texts. I propose a 1520s-1550s date for the Turfan cards since any later should have caused Pan to have to remark on how the Zero Cash card did not exist during his childhood.

Re: Chinese chess cards

hm ... do we have a picture of this second playing card from Turfan ?

A "c1100" might be well a 12th century date, as far I know. In Germany we use "ca. 1100" and it means "circa 1100" or "around 1100".

Is it claimed, that both playing cards from Turfan were found in the same conditions? At the same place, at the same date?

Re: Chinese chess cards

8 ... im&f=false
“Masters” and “Natives”: Digging the Others’ Past
by Svetlana Gorshenina, Philippe Bornet, Michel E. Fuchs, Claude Rapin
Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 08.10.2019 - 394 Seiten
The book focuses on the relational dynamic between “masters” and “natives” in the construction of scholarly narratives about the past, in the fields of archeology, history or the study of religions. Reconsidering the role of subaltern actors that recent postcolonial studies have tended to ignore, the present book emphasizes the complex relations between representatives of the imperial power and local actors, and analyzes how masters and natives (and their respective cultures) have shaped each other in the course of the interaction. Through various vectors of intercultural transfer and knowledge exchange, through the circulation of ideas, techniques and human beings, new visions of the past of extra-European regions emerged, as did collective memories resulting from various kinds of appropriations. In this framework, the most important question is how these dynamic processes determined collective memories of the past in plural (post-)colonial – in particular, Asian – worlds, participating to the construction of national/imperial/local identities and to the reinvention of traditions.
The article "Mikhail Bukharin: The 'Maîtres' of Archaeology in Eastern Turkestan: Divide et Impera" contains political details to the situation of Turfan in 1905.


Hargrave had written (quoted already above) ...
Found in 1905 by Dr. A. von Le Coq with fragments of manuscripts of the Uigur period in the glen of Sangim near Turfan, Chinese Turkestan. This card, which corresponds to the Red Flower of the present Chinese pack, presumably is not later than the eleventh century A.D., and probably is the oldest known playing card.
The seal over the man's head denotes money, three fan, and the characters at the top and bottom give the maker's name. (From Stewart Culin, in 'The Game of Ma Jong.')
I take from this, that the card was found in Sangim (which seems to have been a location South of Turfan; modern maps don't show it).
Then there is a time called "Uigur period in Turfan" and I started a search and I found this article, in which the "Uigur period in Turfan" is related to 800 - 1300(or longer) .... ... an&f=false
Ägypten, Vorderasien, Turfan: Probleme der Edition und Bearbeitung altorientalischer Handschriften. Tagung in Berlin, Mai 1987
by Horst Klengel, Werner Sundermann
Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 18.05.2020 - 178 Seiten



I found ... (and I see, that Ross had found it , too] ... index.html
The Game of Ma-Jong By Stuart Culin
Brooklyn Museum Quarterly, Volume XI, October 1924, pages 153-168
... already quoted by Ross:
at page 161 together with the picture: "Found in 1905 by Dr. A. von Le Coq with fragments of manuscripts of the Uigur period in the glen of Sangim near Turfan, Chinese Turkestan. This card, which corresponds with the red flower of the present Chinese pack (Plate 1), presumably is not later than the 11th century AD, and probably is the oldest known playing card.
The seal over the man's head contains a denomination of money, three fan, and the characters at the top and bottom give the maker's name."
The form and general appearance of these cards suggests a high antiquity. A presumably old card (Plate 2)[Footnote 10] in the Museum of Ethnology, Berlin, found by Dr. A. von Le Coq among the Uigur ruins in the oasis of Turfan in Chinese Turkestan, which must have belonged to a similar money-derived pack, varies but little from cards now current.

Footnote 10: "Dr. Le Coq, to whose courtesy I am indebted for this illustration, informs me that this card was found by him in 1905 while digging in the loess and debris from the mountain side, deposited on the N. terrace of Temple No. 10 in the glen of Sangim Aghyz between Murtuq and Qara Khoja near Turfan. "Unfortunately I am not sure that this locality, which is close to a road has not been invaded by treasure seekers. Still the objects found with it, a pen and ink case and some fragments of Uigur mss. belong without any doubt to the Uigur period." From these indications it would appear to he at least of the 11th Century."
Albert Le Coq
translated by google: https://de-m-wikipedia-org.translate.go ... r_pto=wapp

Re: Chinese chess cards

I found this .... ... 252/c/4268 .... (with picture of the card)
Titel : Chinesische Spielkarte
Identifier : A 493 / 1885728 / IB 6061
Datum : 1904-1905
Ort : Sängim: Nord-Terrasse Tempel 10
Schlagwörter / Material : Papier
Expedition / Sammlung : 2. Turfan-Expedition 1904-1905
... at the group "Sangim" at the search field. There are more pictures with this "Sangim"

The whole is accompanied by ...
Die digitalen Images und Metadaten werden bereitgestellt durch das Ethnologische Museum, das Museum für Asiatische Kunst und das Projekt "Nicht-textuelle Materialien als Quelle und Forschungsgegenstand: die "Turfan-Expeditionen" und die Berliner Sammlungen" in Kooperation mit der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin | CrossAsia
... which is repeated at all pictures

The terminus "Sängim" (not Sangim) has 222 results .... ... ext=sängim
.... presented at 9 webpages

This looks, as if it is Tempel 10 at Sängim ... ... 578/c/7744
This seems to be a second picture of the same object ... 735#canvas

The system of the picture isn't easy to understand.
"Nord-Terrasse Tempel 10" has no results beside the playing card.


I found this: ... 01.html.en
Title: Chotscho. Vol.1
by Albert Le Coq (1912/13)


interesting for us is .... ... 21.html.en ... 22.html.en ... 23.html.en

This part of the report is titled "Die Grabungen in der Umgebung von Chotscho" and starts with page 0021 (computer counting). The report speaks of a very cold February and probably means either February 1903 or February 1905 (? ... I still have to study this finding from the morning, but it seems clear, that it is February 1905).

At page 0023 ...
This text speaks of Sängim and a Tempel 10 and a "Südterasse" of the Tempel 10, a "'Nordterasse" of Tempel 10 is not mentioned. The playing card also is not mentioned.
The Südteraasse hadn't much material. Sängim is used as the name of the valley and a location "Sängim" is also mentioned, but the reporting researcher notes, that they never were there and that the location looks not interesting for the researchers. It is at the other end of the valley.

The author of the text is Albert von Le Coq ...
.... engl. translation by google translator
.... https://de-m-wikipedia-org.translate.go ... r_pto=wapp
translated: https://de-m-wikipedia-org.translate.go ... r_pto=wapp
Chotscho is also known as Kocho or Gaochang.
Last edited by Huck on 12 Feb 2024, 20:53, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Chinese chess cards

There is another report , which has a "Tempel 10" with a "Nordterrasse" ...

Bericht über archäologische Arbeiten in Idikutschari und Umgebung im Winter 1902-1903 : vol.1
Report on Archaeological Work in Idikutshari and Surrounds in the Winter 1902-1903 : vol.1 ... ... 83.html.en
contains ...
Dadurch nähern sie sich aber den Höhlenbauten mit einem Pfeiler in der Mitte, hinter dem ein Rundgang herumführt, z. B. Nordterrasse von Tempel Nr. 10 hinter Sengyma'uz. Sie ersetzen also hier den Stûpa. Dieselbe Bedeutung haben sie sicher auf den Plattformen anderer gröberer Terrassen wie 2, A, C, I, T, X.
English translation: "This brings them closer to the cave buildings with a pillar in the middle, behind which a tour leads around, e.g. B. North terrace of Temple No. 10 behind Sengyma'uz. So you replace the Stûpa here. They certainly have the same meaning on the platforms of other larger terraces such as 2, A, C, I, T, X"

Idikutschari shall be the same city as Kocho, Gaochang or .... etc
Gaochang oder Kocho (chinesisch ??, uigurisch Xoqo, Qara-hoja, auch Chotscho, Khocho, Qoco bzw. Qoco) ist eine alte Oasenstadt im Tarimbecken in Zentralasien.
Sie war ein Handelszentrum und Zwischenstation für die auf der Seidenstraße reisenden Kaufleute, ein Verkehrsknotenpunkt im westlichen China.
Heute sind nur noch Ruinen übrig, die sich in der Gemeinde Sanpu des Stadtbezirks Gaochang befinden, etwa 30 km südöstlich des Zentrums der Stadt Turpan. Dieser Ort wurde von den Ortsansässigen ursprünglich Idykut-schari oder Idikutschari genannt[1]. Der deutsche Name für die Stätte ist Chotscho oder Kocho.
Google translator:
Gaochang or Kocho (Chinese ??, Uighur Xoqo, Qara-hoja, also Chotscho, Khocho, Qoco or Qoco) is an old oasis city in the Tarim Basin in Central Asia.
It was a trading center and stopover for merchants traveling on the Silk Road, a transport hub in western China.
Today, only ruins remain, located in Sanpu Township of Gaochang District, about 30 km southeast of the center of Turpan City. This place was originally called Idykut-shari or Idikutschari by the locals[1]. The German name for the site is Chotscho or Kocho.
See also ...
German article translation : https://de-m-wikipedia-org.translate.go ... r_pto=wapp

These different names can lead to much confusion ... :-) ... I myself became a victim to this. Another difficulty is the problem, how to find the location. Bst at Google maps. The is the city Turpan or Turfan and the ruins location shall be 30 km in South-East direction. Somehow there must be a river ... this sounds simple, but the pictures look rather bad.
Turpan (also known as Turfan; Chinese: ???; Uyghur: ??????) is a prefecture-level city located in the east of the autonomous region of Xinjiang, China. It has an area of 69,759 square kilometres (26,934 sq mi) and a population of 693,988 (2020).
Well, twice as large as NRW (Northrhine-Westfalia) and less populated than Cologne.
Turpan has three districts, and one is called Gaochang. This district consists not only of ruins.

The following is a German description of a "Nordterrasse" of a "Tempel 10" .... I'm not totally sure, if this is the same, that we already learned about, but for the moment this looks probable to me. ... 66.html.en
Engl. ocr-text by google translator ... ... r_pto=wapp ... 67.html.en
.... ... r_pto=wapp ... 68.html.en
.... ... r_pto=wapp ... 69.html.en
.... ... r_pto=wapp

This text is written by Albert Grünwedelünwedel
Engl. by Google translator .... https://de-m-wikipedia-org.translate.go ... r_pto=wappünwedel