Mahjong Tiles

Mahjong tilesTiles (also know as cards) are used to play the game of Mahjong. There are many different variations of tiles which can made out of different materials (plastic, wood, ivory etc.) and have different imagery on them. This page is just to give a general idea of Mahjong tiles and the groups which they fall into. The pictures on your tiles might vary a little from the ones displayed here.

Different groups of tiles

Main Groups

A set of tiles A Mahjong set consists out of 144 tiles, which can be divided into three main groups – Suit, Honour and Bonus Tiles. The suits are divided into Circle, Bamboo and Character tiles. Each suit contains 4 sets of tiles numbered from 1 to 9. (108 Suit tiles in a Mahjong set) The Dragons and Winds makes part of the Honour tiles, 4 sets of the 4 kinds of Winds and 4 sets of the 3 Dragons. (28 Honour tiles in a set) Bonus tiles consists of 4 kinds of Flowers and 4 Seasons. Usually a set also have 4 Blanks to replace lost tiles.

Circle Tiles

(Also called dot, cash, wheel or ball)

Decorated with different numbers of circles, from 1 to 9. Usually coloured as follows: 1,3,5 & 9 – multi-coloured. 2 & 4 – blue and green. 6 & 7 – red and green. 8 – blue.

Dot 1 tileDot 2 tileDot 3 tileDot 4 tileDot 5 tileDot 6 tileDot 7 tileDot 8 tileDot 9 tile

Bamboo Tiles

(Also called bams or sticks)

Decorated with different numbers of little bamboo pictures, from 1 to 9. The 1 of bamboo can be one bamboo shoot or a bird. The colouring for bamboos is usually green, while 1 & 7 can be multi-coloured, 5 & 9 red and green and the picture for the 1 green or multi-coloured.

Bamboo 1 tileBamboo 2 tileBamboo 3 tileBamboo 4 tileBamboo 5 tileBamboo 6 tileBamboo 7 tileBamboo 8 tileBamboo 9 tile

Character Tiles

(Also called cracks)

Usually contains the Chinese number symbols from 1 – 9. The numbers are usually blue, with a red wan symbol (Chinese for ten thousand) at the bottom and may have a green Western number in the upper left corner.

Character 1 tileCharacter 2 tileCharacter 3 tileCharacter 4 tileCharacter 5 tileCharacter 6 tileCharacter 7 tileCharacter 8 tileCharacter 9 tile

Wind Tiles

East, South, West and North decorated with the Chinese symbol for the wind directions. The 4 players are also named according to the 4 wind directions and play commences in the anti-clockwise order East – South – West – North.

East Wind tile South Wind 2 tile West Wind 3 tile North Wind 4 tile

Dragon Tiles

Red (with Chinese symbol), green (with Chinese symbol) and white (blank or framed) tiles.

Red Dragon tile Green Dragon 2 tile White Dragon 3 tile

Flower Tiles

Usually plum, orchid, chrysanthemum and bamboo (or lily). Sometimes numbered from 1 to 4. These are bonus and only used in some versions.

Flower tile Flower 2 tile Flower 3 tile Flower 4 tile

Season Tiles

Winter, Summer, Autumn and Spring decorated with pictures that may bear resemblance to the season.

Season tile Season 2 tile Season 3 tile Season 4 tile