'Project Mah-Jongg' on Exhibit in N.Y

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Description: Mah-jongg's origins go back hundreds of years. While card and tile games similar to it were played by the Chinese aristocracy, [Melissa Martens] explains that "mah-jongg was a gradual folk adaptation of card games based on the "pai system"; these games used symbols from Chinese currency to denote value. Chinese dominoes were also popular in the mid-19th century; mahjongg emerged from the popularity of cards and dominoes.Joseph P. Babcock, the American representative for the Standard Oil Company in Suzhou, is credited with mah-jongg's introduction to America in the 1920s. Babcock created a rule book, added English numerals to the tiles, and aligned himself with the "Mah-Jongg Sales Company of America," which began importing sets.
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