National Army Museum, Waiouru, New Zealand : Military History & Army War Museum

Mah Jong Set

Mah Jong Set

This beautifully made Mah Jong set was recently generously donated to the National Army Museum and is a striking example of Prisoner of War Art. It was made by a Japanese Prisoner of War (POW) at Featherston Camp and given to a guard. The set is one of a number in the museum’s collection and is a terrific example of the skill and artistry of the POWs held at Featherston Camp. Featherston was the site of a large military training camp during World War I and then in 1942 became the location for an 800-man Prisoner of War Camp. Prisoners who did camp duties, such as clearing gorse, were usually given free afternoons to pursue hobbies like carving, which is perhaps the origin of this particular set.