The World of Playing Cards Logo

Hokkien Four Colour Cards

Published March 17, 2013 Updated January 13, 2023

The characters on the cards are written one way for red and yellow, and another for green and white. They are: 將 士 象 車 馬 包 兵 for white and green; 帥 仕 相 俥 傌 炮 卒 for red and yellow.

China Singapore South East Asia Four Colour Hokkien Add to Collection

Four colour cards, or Si Sek Pai as they are known in Hokkien, are a form of playing card used in China and a great part of S/E Asia. These cards are used to play a game much like rummy.

Hokkien Four Colour Cards differ from the “Double Elephant Four Colour Cards” in several ways. The characters on the cards are written one way for red and yellow, and another for green and white. They are: 將 士 象 車 馬 包 兵 for white and green; 帥 仕 相 俥 傌 炮 卒 for red and yellow. This distinction reflects actual Chinese chess sets from which these characters are taken. In these sets, the characters of each side are written differently from the other. In the centre of each of the cards is a Chinese character, which if arranged correctly form a phrase.

Hokkien Four Colour Cards

Above: Hokkien Four Colour Cards. The backs are a shade of pale pink, instead of the more common ochre colour. Each card measures about 2 x 5 cm. The cards were found in the back room of a Chinese art material dealer's shop, left over from a previous business. The cards presumably came in a paper wrapper, which had long since decayed. It appears that this deck is extinct in Singapore. My grandaunt tells me that these cards are the closest things to the cards of her youth, but they differ in several ways. First, The cards she played with lacked the central character. Second the cards were slightly bigger. But nevertheless these cards have been extinct on this island for at least 30 years, and it may be assumed that this is the age of the cards. Images and notes courtesy Anthony Lee.  Visit his Blog →

Hokkien Four Colour Cards

Above: Four Colour cards with wrapper, unknown manufacturer.

Above: unopened packet, manufactured in Belgium.


  • See also: Three Goats Brand

    Three Goats Brand for export to Far Eastern markets. Four Colour Cards is a very popular game from the rummy family with a relatively long history in China.

    Three Goats Brand Four Colour Cards

    Above: Three Goats Brand Four Colour Cards. 112 cards in box, reverse is plain (uncoloured).

avatar
19 Articles

By Anthony Lee

Member since August 05, 2011

Visit his blog here


Related Articles

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Clubs

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Clubs

A limited edition art print of the Jack of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil King of Diamonds

Woodblock and Stencil King of Diamonds

A limited edition art print of the King of Diamonds 1984 woodblock joker.

QAIPES – cartas españolas

QAIPES – cartas españolas

Spanish-suited cards made in China inscribed “QAIPES” and “BAIPES”!

2022 Quên Tarot

Quên Tarot

A mystical voyage of love and self-discovery created by Duy Khánh Võ.

Calon Arang • Калон Аранг - Бали

Calon Arang • Калон Аранг - Бали

Calon Arang, a figure from 12th-century Javanese and Balinese folklore known as a witch skilled in b...

2022 Back to the 80s Lenormand

Back to the 80s Lenormand

History meets pop culture in a 36-card set that pays tribute to Lenormand's legacy and the colourful...

2022 Pixel Tarot

Pixel Tarot

This tarot deck pays tribute to the golden age of pixelated video games, drawing inspiration from th...

1880 Joseph Bardou & Fils cigarette papers

Joseph Bardou & Fils cigarette papers

Delightful pack advertising Joseph Bardou & Fils cigarette papers for the Philippines.

1962 Souvenir of Singapore, Malaya and Borneo

Souvenir of Singapore, Malaya and Borneo

52 different colour pictures of Singapore, Malaya and Borneo from the early 1960s.

Chinese Opera Masks Playing Cards   脸谱

Chinese Opera Masks Playing Cards 脸谱

Three different packs of cards featuring traditional Chinese face painting and Chinese opera masks.

2022 TikTok Tarot

TikTok Tarot

TikTok Tarot is a unique tarot deck that puts a modern spin on the Rider-Waite format; with TikTok-i...

1896 Chinese Money-Suited Playing Cards from the British Museum

Chinese Money-Suited Playing Cards from the British Museum

This deck of Chinese playing cards, donated to the British Museum in 1896, is believed to have been ...

2020 Acelion Cyberpunk Playing Cards

Acelion Cyberpunk Playing Cards

This cyberpunk deck by Acelion combines magic and science fiction elements, inspired by Nordic mytho...

SilkAir

SilkAir

SilkAir was a Singaporean regional airline and a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Airlines.

Singapore Trump

Singapore Trump

“Singapore Trump” playing cards designed by Yasuko Senshu.

Malaya 1941-1942: King George VI currency notes

Malaya 1941-1942: King George VI currency notes

Playing cards featuring King George VI Currency Notes, Malaya 1941-1942.

1985 Marionnettes Wayang

Marionnettes Wayang

Striking Wayang puppet designs conceived by Youdi des Aubrys from Indonesia, 1985.

1981 Wayang Bridge Cards

Wayang Bridge Cards

Traditional Wayang puppet theatre characters from Indonesia.

1985 Garuda Indonesia Airline

Garuda Indonesia Airline

Souvenir pack from Garuda Indonesia, the national airline of Indonesia, c.1985.

1860 Dutch costume playing cards

Dutch costume playing cards

Dutch costume playing cards made for the Dutch market in the second half of the 19th century.

2010 Pulp Pin-Up

Pulp Pin-Up

Classic 1940s Pulp Pin-Up covers on playing cards from China, c.2010.

2019 Diaoyu Poker 8068

Diaoyu Poker 8068

8068 by Diaoyu Poker (China) 2019.

1984 Chinese Costumes

Chinese Costumes

Chinese Costumes from the Winterthur Collection, published by Fournier, 1984.

1895 Khanhoo

Khanhoo

Khanhoo by Charles Goodall & Son, 1895.

Chinese Jokers

Chinese Jokers

Chinese playing card makers have probably produced the widest variety of jokers of any single part o...

1970 Characters of “The Water Margin”

Characters of “The Water Margin”

Characters from the Chinese novel “The Water Margin” - 水滸撲克.

1990 Garuda Indonesia

Garuda Indonesia

Souvenir playing cards from Garuda Indonesia Airlines, the national airline of Indonesia.

2016 Hogwarts

Hogwarts

Harry Potter Hogwarts playing cards, c.2016.

1900 Tô Tôm №1204

Tô Tôm №1204

Tô Tôm is played with a 120-card Chinese-style deck.

1980 Far East

Far East

Far East playing cards with designs by Isabel Ibáñez de Sendadiano, c.1980.

1998 The Summer Palace

The Summer Palace

The Summer Palace, Beijing, China, c.1998.

Maxi Puke 201 Circus Poker

Maxi Puke 201 Circus Poker

Maxi Puke 201 Circus Poker brand produced by Wenyu Paper Products, Shanghai.

57: China 3

57: China 3

A third and final look at some Chinese cards.

Hakka

Hakka

“Double Happiness” brand Hakka [客家] playing cards used by Hakka ethnic communities who have a separa...

55: China 2

55: China 2

Some further American designs used in China.

Tam Cúc  三菊

Tam Cúc 三菊

Tam Cúc playing cards from Vietnam (Việt Nam), based on Chinese chess, 2016

54: China 1

54: China 1

Although many people would not consider Chinese cards worth collecting, the huge variety of court de...

2016 Children’s Vocabulary Cards

Children’s Vocabulary Cards

Thai Children’s Colour Vocabulary Cards promoting Ovaltine chocolate malt drink, 2016.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines A330 flying experience souvenir playing cards

2009 Learn Thai

Learn Thai

“Learn Thai” cards published by Lanna Innovation Co. Ltd, 2009.

Bio-Pack

Bio-Pack

Bio-Pack flashcards produced for Thai biology students

2010 Lucky Buddha Beer

Lucky Buddha Beer

Deck made in China in c.2010 advertising the Chinese brew “Lucky Beer, the enlightened beer”