Traditional craftsman Master Siu Ping Keung and contemporary artisan Ken Chow collaborated to create this mahjong table with connecting scenes of Hong Kong and London as a backdrop, while the four legs of the table and accompanying four chairs are inspired by the image of the horse.
Horse racing was introduced in Hong Kong through the establishment of the Happy Valley Racecourse in 1845 and has since become a popular pastime activity. On the table, where players gather for a mahjong game, lies a map of Hong Kong made by Ken with silver thread inlay. Seeing it as if looking at Hong Kong from a bird's eye view, the map enables players to not only enjoy the game but also use it as a topic of discussion. The legs of the table took shape from the horse’s hind legs, while the legs of the four chairs are each supported by two pairs of carved wooden hind legs, conveying the presence of eight horses. The legs are carved so vividly that upon touching, one can feel the muscles and bones of a real horse. Each leg extends to the back of the chair, and its upper part is carved in the image of the horse’s tail. Hence, when looking at the chair from behind, one can appreciate the transformation of two wooden horses’ tails into a pair of hind legs. Master Siu added a touch of playfulness to the work by applying wooden “horseshoes” to the bottom of the hoofs, which also helped to stabilize the chairs and the table.
The highlights of this mahjong table are the eight zitan panels carved around the four corners in pairs. Through each pair of panels, Master Siu narrates the transformation of Hong Kong from an old fishing port to a modern metropolis, and reveals the cultural ties between Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. From the junk boat sailing on shore to the Cross Harbour Tunnel in the 1970s; from aligning the day and night view of the Tsing Ma Bridge to the Tower Bridge of London; from connecting the dragon boat race of the Aberdeen fishing harbor to the rowing race on the River Thames, these scenes are meticulously carved depicting the similarities and differences of the two cities.