Symbolism of MahJong
Circles or Coins
Originally called "T'ung", they represent copper coins. The 1 Circle is known as "the Moon of China".
Bamboos or Bams
In China bamboo has always been held in high steem, being a plant of versatility. The 1 Bamboo is usually represented by a sparrow or rice-bird.
Also known "cracks", the ideograms above are the the equivalent of Chinese numbers from 1 to 9. The ideogram below is the Chinese word "won", which means 10,000.
Or Honour tiles, represent for winds: North, South, East and West.
Seasons and Flowers
These were originally known as the "Eight Guardians". The four Seasons are: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and the four Flowers plum blossoms, orchid, chrysanthemum and bamboo.
The Dragon tiles are also Honour tiles. There are three dragons: Green (represents "green" life), Red (represents animal life), and White (represents spiritual beings).