Tangram is a an easy yet really entertaining dissection puzzle game which requires 7 level shapes and also the player’s imagination. The target of the video game is to create figures of offered silhouettes and its rules room simple: the player should use all seven pieces, without overlapping them, and every piece have to touch at least one other. Tangram is still among the most popular puzzle games in the world. It originates from China, wherein it is dubbed 七巧图 (qi qiao tu) or 七巧板 (qi qiao ban), an interpretation "seven taderekwadsworth.comets of ability" and where it has actually a long tradition. The English has actually thought to have actually been obtained from Tang, with reference to the tang Dynasty, and the Greek suffix –gramma (graph). However, both the origin and also the etymology of the English name remain uncertain.

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First web page of the 七巧图解(Qi qiao tu jie), Tangram puzzle publication solutions, China c. 1815 (British Library 15257.d.14)

Usually, the Chinese Tangram game publications include, in two different volumes, the silhouettes to it is in created and the solutions. In the picture below there is a pair of publications puderekwadsworth.comished in China in 1815: the one top top the top display screens the silhouettes, the one below contains the equivalent solutions, which highlight the place of every of the 7 pieces to create the preferred figure. Generally, the forms are stylizations of usual objects or animals.

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Patterns from the 七巧图合璧 (Qi qiao tu that bi), Tangram puzzle book, China c. 1815 (British Library 15257.d.5) and below 七巧图解(Qi qiao tu jie), Tangram puzzle book solutions, China c. 1815 (British Library 15257.d.14)

The standard version that the Tangram comprises five triangles of various sizes, a square and a rhomboid which together kind a square. Regardless of its simplicity (we can develop a Tangram set to play v from a piece of paper, also though there space Tangram sets sculpted from precious jade or ivory), this game requires creativity and patience. Due to the fact that its arrival in Europe it has actually been considered as an pundit and difficult game both for children and adults. Lot research has actually been carried out on the usage of Tangram in the fields of mathematics<1>, geometry, psychology and education<2>.

The birth and breakthrough of Tangram and other visual games in China has been connected by some scholars come the 燕几圖 (Yan ji tu), commonly attributed to Huang Bo’en (1079 – 1118), which to be transmitted during the Yuan and Ming dynasties in a collection dubbed Xin shang Bian. The Yan ji tu is a monograph about the kinds of taderekwadsworth.comes for convivial gatherings. The text is really schematic and reduced come captions the a collection of drawings showing seven geometrical taderekwadsworth.come pieces in various arrangements.

Around the 1820s there was a craze because that the Tangram in Europe, referred to as at the time “Chinese enigma” or “Eastern Puzzle”. That is attraction lay in that exoticism and also a fascination for whatever coming from east Asia. The game was especially popular among the upper classes because, despite being a solitary game, it enabled players to complete with each various other in solving the proderekwadsworth.comems and also could be used to entertain guests. Several manuals to be puderekwadsworth.comished in England, France, Germany and also Italy, through figures and also solutions. The Eight publication of Tan by Sam Loyd, puderekwadsworth.comished in new York in 1903, make this classic Chinese game renowned in the unites States and at the same time reinforced its popular in Europe at the start of the 20th century.

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Left: The great Eastern Puzzle, London, 1817: English reproduction of the Chinese 七巧图合璧  Qi qiao tu the bi, through all the 316 original puzzles consisted of in the 1815 Chinese version. One English introduction was added (British Library 15257.d.13)Right: first and 2nd pages from the original Chinese version, 1815 (British Library 15257.d.5)

Another extensive guide, Le Véritaderekwadsworth.come casse-tête, ou Énigmes chinoises, to be puderekwadsworth.comished in Paris in 1820, and it testifies come the popular of the game in France in the period. The fascination because that Tangram included some renowned personalities, amongst them, apparently, Napoleon and also Edgar Allan Poe. Lewis Carroll, born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, writer and mathematician, recreated the main characters of his novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland using the seven pieces the Tangram.

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Left: introduction to the game and also illustrations with numbers from Le Véritaderekwadsworth.come casse-tête, ou Énigmes chinoises, Paris, 1820 (British Library 1210.m.41) Right, Tangram silhouettes from Lewis Carroll's Bedside book - ‘Entertainments for the Wakeful Hours’, edited by Edgar Cuthwellis v illustrations by Lewis Carroll and Phuz (British Library X.529/34199)

Almost fifty years after the puderekwadsworth.comication of the 七巧图合璧 (Qi qiao tu the bi) in 1815, Tong Xiegeng, a scholar native the city the Hangzhou, developed a new puzzle do of 15 pieces, 6 of which through curvilinear edges. This new version the the Tangram was referred to as Yi zhi ban 益智板, or “Taderekwadsworth.comets for boosting Intelligence”. Tong Xiegeng puderekwadsworth.comished in 1862 a two volume publication called Yi zhi tu 益智图, containing numerous puzzles to be addressed with the fifteen pieces. This puzzles include scenes from timeless Chinese poems or stories.

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Illustrations indigenous the Yi zhi tu 益智图 through Tong Xiegeng, 1878 copy (British Library 15257.d.300)

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A fifteen piece Tangram set, ca. 1920 (British Library Or.62.a)

More freshly Donald Verry took part beautiful photos in the brothers Library building in St. Pancras and also named 2 of them “Tangram”. Can you guess native which clues they to be taken?

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Tangram (left) and Tangram II (right)ⓒ Donald Verry

 

Further readingBussotti, Michela, “Jeux de taderekwadsworth.comes: le Yanji tu, livre sans texte d'«images en action»?”, in Bulletin de l'Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient, n. 89, 2002Loyd, Sam, Sam Loyd's book of Tangram Puzzles (The 8th book of Tan part I). Mineola, new York: Dover Puderekwadsworth.comications, 1968Read, Ronald C., Tangrams: 330 Puzzles, brand-new York: Dover Puderekwadsworth.comications, 1968Slocum, Jerry, et al., The Tangram Book: The Story of the Chinese Puzzle through Over 2000 Puzzles come Solve. Brand-new York: Sterling Puderekwadsworth.comishing Company, 2004