19th Century - 1895
Square sheet of paper printed with the first 80 characters of the Thousand Character Classic in vertical columns inside a square border, and marked up with brush and red ink. A horizontal line of text reading zhao lai yuan di gei 照來原底給 runs through the middle of the square. These cards were used to play the gambling game of pok kop piu (Mandarin: bai he piao 百合票,"white pigeon lottery"). The aim was to guess correctly twenty characters selected at random from the opening eighty of the Thousand-Character Classic. The game was widely played in Canton, and in overseas Chinese communities. It continues to be played in Macao today under the Portuguese spelling "pacapio" and in US casinos under the name "keno", with numbers 1-80 in place of the original Chinese characters.
Gift of Maxwell Sommerville
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