Sunday, May 2, 2010

Project Mah Jongg: Exhibit At Museum Of Jewish Heritage

"Crack", Dot", "Bam", "Soap"

I am so excited to tell you about Project Mah Jongg opening at Museum of Jewish Heritage, Battery Park, New York City, May 4th, 2010. Oy, I can already hear the tiles clicking and the women shouting out "Mah Jongg! I knew the symbols on the Mah Jongg tiles before I could read. (My mother was a seasoned player).

"Mah Jongg Lady"

The photo shown of "Mah Jongg Lady" was a whimsical three dimensional figure ( styled like a Mah Jongg tile) that I created out of a painted brick for a local Cancer charity auction in Connecticut. (We had to create "art" out of a brick". ) By the way, never will I attempt epoxy glue again.

Mah Jongg Lady evolved in my mind quite easily as I grew up surrounded my Mah Jong ladies, including my mother and all of our neighbors in Brooklyn and than in Fresh Meadows, New York.

Mah Jongg In The Catskills

I remember my mother getting ready to play Mah Jongg in the 1950s. She played both evening games and daytime games during the summer (in The Catskills).

During the weekly evening games, mom would pull out the bridge table and chairs and cover the table with a plastic quilted cover and tablecloth. I can't believe I now sell similar items in my shop , "Kitsch n Stuff".

Mah Jongg Night: Candy And Refreshments

The best part of Mah Jongg night for me ( as a child) was the refreshments. What would Mah Jongg night be without filled candy dishes, cakes, soda etc. Mom would let me sample the goodies before I was tucked in for bed. But, of course I could still hear the gals calling out "bam", "dot", "crack", "soap,. the names of the tiles which form suits.

Project Mah Jongg At Museum of Jewish Heritage

The upcoming exhibit "Project Mah Jongg", takes place in a 1000 square foot hexagonal gallery and will chronicle the artifacts associated with the game as well as Mah Jongg's social and cultural history for Jewish women in America. According to The Museums website visitors to the exhibit will experience the ambient soundscape created by sound designer Timothy Nohe who has reproduced the sounds and voices of women playing the game.

The exhibit, designed by Abbott Miller of Pentagram, features artwork by Christoph Niemann, Isaac Mizrachi, Maira Kalman, and Bruce McCall and was curated by Melissa Martens. An accompanying publication called "Mah Jongg: Crak, Mam, Dot", edited by Abbott Miller and Patsy Tarr is available in The Pickman Museum Shop

About The Museum: From Their Website:
"The Museum of Jewish Heritage is A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. "Created as a living memorial to those who perished during the Holocaust, our Museum honors those who died by celebrating their lives - cherishing the traditions that they embraced, examining their achievements and faaith, and affirming the vibrant worldwide Jewish community that is their legacy today"

Learn More About The Exhibit, Museum And Mah Jongg:

To Read More About Mah Jongg click on this link:
Group photos shown are the courtesy of

Books About Mah Jongg

Mah Jongg - Companion Volume to the Exhinbition " Project Mah Jongg" Published by the 2wice Arts Foundation

A Beginner's Guide To American Mah jongg by Elaine Sandberg

A Mah Jongg handbook: How to Play, Score, and Win by Eleanor Noss Whitney

Mah Jongg Made Easy by National Mah Jongg League

The Great Mahjong Book: History, Lore, and Play by Jelte Rep

References And Articles About Mah Jongg Collectibles

An Interview With Antique Mahjong Set Collector Carol Ann Harper

Mah Jongg Musuem:

Mah Jongg Sets

Mah Jongg Gifts

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro cafĂ©.To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link: C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff Email me at dianne@cdiannezweig.comVisit my website, CDianneZweig.comDianne is a member of:The American Society of Journalists and AuthorsThe Authors Guild, Inc.


  1. What wonderful memories of your mother and her friends! The exhibit sounds like so much fun. I have never played Mah Jong, nor did my mother. She used to have sorority teas at our house and I remember all the woman being dressed up and the wonderful snacks that were served. She also played some pretty competitive bridge and she recently gave me all of her bridge books and her handwritten notes about different hands. I am off to visit the sites you posted. Mah Jong sounds like such fun, who knows, I might just give it a try!! Great post Diane!!

    Susan and Bentley

  2. I haven't thought about Mah Jong in years! My Mom played and I too remember all the goodies for the ladies (and me!).I wish I could see this exhibit!

  3. I would love to learn how to play this. It would be much more fun than the computer version, because of the friends!

  4. Diane: I would love permission to show your MAH JONGG LADY picture on Look at the NEWS page and see other interesting Mah Jongg pictures including some cute mah jongg cakes!

    Also: Another place to get suggest getting great gifts and accessories is my site :

  5. Trying to create new memories...Thank you for your blog and the continuation of information about this awesome game!
    Hi, I'm Gillian. I wanted to introduce myself and get the word out a little. My business partner/friend introduced me to the world of Mah Jongg about a year ago, I fell in love! Being part of the Jewish community she was surrounded by the game her whole life, I was one of the uninformed people ignorant to the wonders...until now. So, last year I made her a couple of Mah Jongg inspired jewelry pieces and it's kind of been a whirlwind from there. :)
    We've recently started a Mah Jongg based Accessory/Gifts company that (if you love Mah Jongg) I think you will love! We absolutely embrace the cultural and historical significance of the game and we've worked really hard on developing products that celebrate Mahj and are functional/beautiful, while being affordable. has lots of things to offer and we want to spread the word about how great this past time has been in uniting generations! Have a look, we hope to see you soon! :)

    Thanks so much for the attention.
    Gillian Hatcher

  6. Even though this is an older post, I wanted to comment. When I was young, I was at a friend's house and we went to a woman's house and I played my one and only game and LOVED it. I just this summer bought a set and you have rekindled my interest. Of course, I have to learn how to play, but perhaps, I can find some like minded ladies and start a new tradition.

    Love and adore your blog. I find it totally ironic that I now love some items that I thought were just too, "ick", at the time. I have learned to never, ever say, never, just like James Bond.