Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Daun Tiga, or three cards-- part 2

" Daun tiga 'lei "
For part 1, see here 
Walter William Skeat's monumental Malay Magic: An introduction to the popular religion and folklore of the Malay Peninsula is a survey of the customs and folklore of the Malay Peninsula. To give an idea of the expanse of the work, here are some chapter headings "Crocodile folklore" "Funeral prayers" "Birth ceremonies". It was published in 1900.

The book contains two separate accounts of this game. The first and longer account was written by Sir W.E. Maxwell, the second by Skeat himself. Maxwell's description was previously published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic society.  Both descriptions are fairly patchy. They appear to be more concerned with the customs and rituals surrounding the game, than the game itself.

Both authors agree that there are regional variations in the game. Maxwell gives the version played in Perak. Skeat gives the version played in Selangor.

  The cards are shuffled, and the player to the right of the deler cuts them. The player who cut the cards looks at the bottom card of those he lifts. If he thinks the card is lucky, he accepts the cut, and puts down the cards he lifted. The dealer reunites the deck. He then cuts and looks at the cards as before.
 Three cards are dealt out to each player.
Two stakes are deposited by each player, the Kepala ( head) and Ekor ( tail). The Ekor is usually of greater value than the Kepala.
 The cards of the players are then compared against the dealer. [Presumably, players whose hands rank higher than the dealer are paid out, and vice versa. Maxwell does not describe the process of payouts, other than the following detail--]
  If the dealer has one of the hands called Tĕrus (see below), and the player holds a less valuable hand, both Kepala and Ekor are taken.
 If players please, they may bet amongst one another, instead (or in addition to-- the book is unclear) of betting against the banker.

The hands are ranked according to the point-score assigned to them. If the point-score exceeds 10, then ten is deducted from the total points to give the final score.
Malay Magic does not tell us the exact system of points, apart from saying "A Knave, ten and nine is a good hand" From this, one can assume that the scoring system is similar to the one in Dobree.

The following hands are known as Tĕrus. These hands outrank all other hands.

Three Aces, called Sat Tiga
Three Courts, called Kuda or Naik Kuda ( Three Horses -- A.L)
A hand with the value of Nine
A hand with the value of eight.

In Perak, a hand of three threes is considered bad luck. Whoever is dealt such a hand throws it out. Here's Maxwell:

"A Hand of three threes, being Nine, is really a good hand, but it is considered a propitation of good luck to throw it down ( without exposing it), announcing that one is buta ("out"-- literally "blind" A.L.), in the hope of getting good luck afterwards"

Any player who holds a score of exactly 30 is said to be out, unless he holds three court cards.

In Selangor, the hands considered as Tĕrus are slightly different:

Three Aces, called Tiga Sat
Three threes, called Tiga Jalor 
Three 10s, called Tiga Puloh ( Puloh = Puluh = Ten-- A.L)
Three Courts, called Tiga ankong 
A hand with the value of Nine
A hand with the value of eight.

Reading both accounts, one gets the idea that Dobree's game is a simplified version of the version found in Malay Magic. In Malay Magic, the contract of Long is obligatory. Apart from that, there are few differences between the games. 

The whole book may be seen here:

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

"Cuajo Filipino"

"Cuajo Fillipino", Fournier, 112c.

  Now we come to a curious version of the Spanish pattern ( see here and here) used in the Philippines. This particular example was made in the 1970s ( from an inscription found among the cards of the deck) by the Spanish company Fournier
  Spanish playing cards are still used ( albeit to a small extent) in the Philippines. This is not surprising from a nation that was colonized by Spain for over three centuries. Images of people using what are clearly Los Dos Tigres cards in the Philippines can be seen on the net, as well as videos of people participating in a curious gambling game called Sakla.  This involves a full deck of  Spanish playing cards. For a Fillipino's thoughts on playing cards in his country, see here

The most unusual feature of the deck is its structure. The deck has four suits, like most Spanish decks; but instead of the full 12 cards in each suit, there are only seven, viz;
  King, Knight, Valet, 4, 3,2 Ace, 
This unit is repeated four times, to give a full deck of 128 cards. Observant readers may note that this structure is identical to the Chinese Si Se Pai, --four units of 28 cards each ( see here and here)

The nature of the game played with this deck bears this out ( As pointed out on's page on Cuajo ). There are only two acceptable "runs" in this game; King, Knight, Knave, and 5, 4, and 3. This corresponds to the melds of 将士相 and 車馬炮 in Se Se pai. Rules for the game may be found here 

The suit of cups. One of the hings that strikes me is the sheer vividness of the color. The deep indigo blue, the vibrant orange, etc. This pattern preserves the "AHI VA" of the Los dos Tigres deck, found on the Knight of cups. On the 5 of cups is written "CORTES TABLA"

The second thing to note is the absence of index numbers, which are otherwise found in Spanish decks. Nonetheless, the "Pinta" (Pattern of breaks in the frame indicating the suit) are still present. 

The suit of coins. It is surprising to note that the ace of coins still bears the arms of Castile and Leon. The five of coins bears a profile of a woman. The four of coins bears the maker's name

The suit of swords. The ace of swords bears the inscription "CORTE TABLA", which is also found on the five of cups. The slight longitudinal  curvature of the cards is especially evident in this photograph. They are made out of a particularly fine material; almost resembling plastic. 

Three views of the wrapper. The cards are made by Fournier of Spain ( who has made several decks already featured on this blog). It is interesting to note that the deck is explicitly identified as "Cuajo Fillipino" perhaps indicating that the cards were solely made for export? 

 The back of the cards, and a warranty slip.