Understanding the Mahjong tiles

Not only are they quite interesting to look at, much like the western deck of cards, the mahjong tiles are made up of suits. There are three base suits known as the circle suit, the bamboo suit, and the character suit. Then there are two honor suits, dragons and winds and finally, one optional suit – flowers.

The Circle Suit (Also known as stones or wheels)
This suite is characterized by the simplest design and the use of circles.
-There are four sets of nine tiles, totaling a number of 36 tiles in the suit.

The Bamboo Suit (Also called Sticks)
These tiles can be recognized by their stick shapes. The number one tile in this set is set apart as a bird sitting on a bamboo stick.
-There are four sets of nine tiles, totaling a number of 36 tiles in the suit.


The Character Suit (Also known as thousands, numbers or coins)
The character tiles have the Chinese characters for the numbers one through nine painted on them. Along with the numbers, the Chinese symbol for Wan (or thousands).
-There are four sets of nine tiles, totaling a number of 36 tiles in the suit.

Honor Tiles (also known as winds and Arrows or Dragons)
Wind tiles are four tiles characterized by the Chinese symbols for the direction of the wind: North, South, East, and West.
-Four of these in each set
-Four sets in the game coming to a total of 16 wind tiles in the game.

Arrows or Dragons
-Three of these in each set
-Four sets in the game equaling a total of 12 tiles

Flower Tiles and Season Tiles (Bonus tiles)
Flower tiles are optional. And the game can be played without them but they do offer bonus points, similar to the joker in a pack of tiles.
-There are eight flower tiles
-Four of these tiles represent the seasons: Summer, winter, spring and fall.
-The remaining four represent plants: Orchid, Bamboo, Chrysanthemum, and Plum.