Tujeon (Hangul: 투전; hanja: 鬪牋; RR: tujeon; MR: t'ujŏn; literally meaning fighting tablets) are the traditional playing cards of Korea. Decks typically contained sixty or eighty cards: nine numeral cards, and one General (tjyang), to each suit. The suits are as follows:
- Man (Hangul: 사람; RR: saram; MR: saram)
- Fish (Hangul: 물고기; RR: mulgogi; MR: mulgogi)
- Crow (Hangul: 까마귀; RR: ggamagwi; MR: kkamagwi)
- Pheasant (Hangul: 꿩; RR: ggyeong; MR: kkwŏng)
- Roe (Hangul: 노루; RR: noru; MR: noru)
- Star (Hangul: 별; RR: byeol; MR: pyŏl)
- Rabbit (Hangul: 토끼; RR: toggi; MR: t'okki)
- Horse (Hangul: 말; RR: mal; MR: mal)
The physical cards are very long and narrow, typically measuring about 8 inches (200 mm) tall and 0.5 inches (13 mm) across. They are made of oiled paper, leather or silk. The backs are usually decorated with a stylized feather design.
Popular games played with the htou-tjyen include:
- "sweetmeat pestle", or yet pang mang i, a baccarat-like game from which the domino game kol-ye-se developed
- tong tang, an early rummy game
In his 1895 book Korean Games, with notes on the corresponding games of China and Japan, ethnographer Stewart Culin suggested that htou-tjyen originated from the similarly-shaped symbolic bamboo "arrows" used for divination in sixth-century Korea. This hypothesis, however, is supported mainly by visual similarity, and remains unsubstantiated.
It has been suggested that htou-tjyen probably migrated to China after their invention in Korea, a theory which has historically been resisted by Chinese historians, who often substituted fanciful legends of the Chinese invention of playing cards. The eighty cards of an eight-suit htou-tjyen deck also correspond closely to the 80 spaces in the lottery game keno, which suggests that it may also be descended from htou-tjyen.
By the early 19th century, htou-tjyen evolved somewhat from its original form: decks were typically only forty to sixty cards in size, using four or six of the eight suits; and the numeral cards were no longer marked to distinguish their suit, being used interchangeably.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Htou-tjyen.|
- Simon Wintle. "Playing Cards in Korea". The World of Playing Cards. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
- James Edward Whitney, jr. (2003). "Playing Cards: Guide". Harvard University Library Online Archival Search Information System. Harvard College. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
- Culin, Stewart (1895). Korean Games, with notes on the corresponding games of China and Japan. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania. pp. 123–126. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
- Schwartz, David G. (2006). Roll the Bones: the History of Gambling. New York: Gotham Books. pp. 41–42. ISBN 1-59240-208-9.
- Culin, Stewart (1896). Chess and Playing Cards. Atlanta, Georgia: University of Pennsylvania. pp. 918–919. Retrieved November 13, 2012.