From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Htou-tjyen)
Jump to: navigation, search
The feather-like back design (left) and the eight General cards, each marked with the symbol of its suit, from a full eight-suited deck (right).

Tujeon (Hangul: 투전; hanja: 鬪牋; RR: tujeon; MR: t'ujŏn; literally meaning fighting tablets) are the traditional playing cards of Korea.[1] Decks typically contained sixty or eighty cards: nine numeral cards, and one General (tjyang), to each suit.[1][2] The suits are as follows:[3]

The physical cards are very long and narrow, typically measuring about 8 inches (200 mm) tall and 0.5 inches (13 mm) across.[4] They are made of oiled paper, leather or silk.[1][4] The backs are usually decorated with a stylized feather design.[5]


Popular games played with the htou-tjyen include:


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.[1][4] This hypothesis, however, is supported mainly by visual similarity,[4] and remains unsubstantiated.[1]

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.[4] 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.[4]

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.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e Simon Wintle. "Playing Cards in Korea". The World of Playing Cards. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  2. ^ James Edward Whitney, jr. (2003). "Playing Cards: Guide". Harvard University Library Online Archival Search Information System. Harvard College. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b 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. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Schwartz, David G. (2006). Roll the Bones: the History of Gambling. New York: Gotham Books. pp. 41–42. ISBN 1-59240-208-9. 
  5. ^ a b Culin, Stewart (1896). Chess and Playing Cards. Atlanta, Georgia: University of Pennsylvania. pp. 918–919. Retrieved November 13, 2012.