You know that I love old dominoes, and playing cards, and domino cards too, so how wonderful to find this set of antique Chinese domino cards, perhaps the most beautiful of all!
From what I understand Chinese dominoes cards first appeared around 1600 and are derived from all twenty-one combinations of a pair of dice. Though not visually apparent, they are divided into two suits: civil and military, with the concept of suits increasing the level of strategy. I believe these would be called “Double Happiness” domino cards, with the small symbols at their centers emblematic of the blessings of life. Sizes of "decks" varied a bit; I don't believe this set of 70 represents a complete set but I'm not entirely sure. I believe they date to the 19th century, and are stiff and strong but light; I would guess they are made of bamboo or similar, painted/lacquered black on the reverse side.
Each piece measures 3 1/2” l x 13/16” wide. Excellent condition.