Since the 1920s, mah jongg has ignited the popular imagination with its beautiful tiles, mythical origins, and spirit of camaraderie. Come learn the history and meanings of what has become an American Jewish tradition across the generationsfrom grandmothers to hipsters, from baby boomers to bohemians.
Organized by the Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York City, Project Mah Jongg highlights cross-cultural relationships between American Jews and Chinese Americans and explores the influence of mah jongg on cultural identity, fashion, and style. The game is a true cultural hybrid: its ancient roots are in China; it captivated American audiences in the 1920s; and it became integral to the social life and philanthropy of American Jewish women beginning in the 1930s.
On view are twentieth-century objects, including mah jongg sets, tiles, rule books, newspaper clippings, and vintage photography, as well as mah jongginspired contemporary works by Isaac Mizrahi, Bruce McCall, and Maira Kalman. Game tables across the Skirball campus encourage visitors to play a game of mah jongg and take part in a continuing tradition.