The annual Chinese New Year festivities are around the corner (at the point of writing, we will have less than 9 days to go), in fact, many of those who celebrate this annual affair have already started as early as January last month. In a pre-pandemic scenario, this period usually means multiple get-togethers where relatives and friends meet up to celebrate this joyous occasion. Mahjong sessions usually dominate agendas as people bask in the gaiety of the moment, many are eager to test our their luck in the new year.
For the uninitiated, mahjong is a game that was born out of China in the 1800s, and has since connected generations of communities over the years. Played over a square table with four players, each will try to obtain the best combination of tiles in order to win. Like any other strategy-led games, it will require cooperation, negotiation and most importantly, luck. While it may seem simple, the game is anything but that because there are 144 tiles in total. One needs to memorise the possible combinations in order to win.
Because of its long history, many have revered mahjong to be the icon of Chinese culture and in 2012, petitions were made to include the game into the UNESCO World Heritage List. One can only imagine the status mahjong holds for many of the Chinese around the world, so when an American company decided to have a “revamp”, it was called out to be racist and culturally inappropriate.
While this incident has painted a negative light on many Western companies, we are thankful that not all are equally tone-deaf. Many brands have done an excellent job such as the ones that are shown below.
These 5 luxurious mahjong sets, no doubt, will command the attention of the room when it is brought out:
Hermès Helios Mahjong Set (USD$40,400/ ~SGD$53,827)
A nod to the Maison’s colour codes of orange and brown. This exquisite mahjong set is made from palissander wood and printed Swift calfskin. Unlike the usual tiles, these printed full leather tiles allow for quieter gameplay.
Prada Saffiano Leather Mahjong Game (SGD$5,600)
Wrapped in the brand’s signature Saffiano leather, Prada’s mahjong set tiles are made of acrylic resin with gold engravings. Opening the box, you will be greeted with the Prada’s iconic black and red colour scheme.
Brunello Cucinelli (USD$7,900/ ~SGD$10,525)
Craftsmanship is at the core of this Italian brand, and likewise for its mahjong set, all 144 tiles are hand-decorated and made in Italy. No doubt a specimen like no other.
Louis Vuitton (NT2.3million/ ~SGD$109,629)
This set is made of real jade and housed within a vintage pull-out trunk, unfortunately, only 10 pieces are available, so we are not sure if it’s still possible to get it. Anyways, it would definitely look great even as a display set.
S.T. Dupont Mahjong Set (£795,000/ ~SGD$1,437,709)
No other mahjong sets scream luxury other than this from S.T. Dupont, which was made in partnership with L’Aquart. The tiles are handcrafted with Tanzanian ruby, which is said to bring prosperity and protection, as well as keeping one beautiful and healthy. The tiles are encased in a mahogany box with ebony veneer.