Tangram is a basic yet exceptionally entertaining disarea puzzle game which entails 7 level forms and also the player’s creativity. The aim of the game is to produce figures of provided silhouettes and also its rules are simple: the player have to use all seven pieces, without overlapping them, and eexceptionally item should touch at least one various other. Tangram is still one of the most renowned puzzle games in the civilization. It originates from China, wbelow it is called 七巧图 (qi qiao tu) or 七巧板 (qi qiao ban), interpretation "salso taballows of ability" and wbelow it has actually a long legacy. The English has actually thmust have actually been obtained from Tang, via referral to the Flavor Dynasty, and the Greek sufsettle –gramma (graph). However before, 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 book solutions, China c. 1815 (British Library 15257.d.14)

Generally, the Chinese Tangram game books include, in two separate volumes, the silhouettes to be created and also the remedies. In the picture below tright here is a pair of books puderekwadsworth.comished in China in 1815: the one on the optimal displays the silhouettes, the one listed below consists of the corresponding services, which highlight the position of each of the seven pieces to create the desired figure. Usually, the forms are stylizations of common objects or pets.

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

The classic variation of the Tangram comprises five triangles of various sizes, a square and also a rhomboid which together develop a square. Despite its simplicity (we have the right to create a Tangram collection to play with from a piece of paper, also though there are Tangram sets carved from valuaderekwadsworth.come jade or ivory), this game requires creativity and patience. Since its arrival in Europe it has actually been taken into consideration as an intellectual and challenging game both for kids and also adults. Much research has actually been performed on the use of Tangram in the fields of mathematics<1>, geometry, psychology and also education<2>.

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

Around the 1820s tright here was a craze for the Tangram in Europe, dubbed at the moment “Chinese enigma” or “Eastern Puzzle”. Its attractivity lay in its exoticism and also a fascination for every little thing coming from East Asia. The game was specifically well-known among the upper classes because, despite being a solitary game, it permitted players to compete through each various other in addressing the proderekwadsworth.comems and also can be provided to entertain guests. Several manuals were puderekwadsworth.comiburned in England also, France, Germany and Italy, with figures and also options. The Eight Puderekwadsworth.comication of Tan by Sam Loyd, puderekwadsworth.comimelted in New York in 1903, made this standard Chinese game famous in the Unites States and at the very same time reinforced its popularity in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century.

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Left: The Great Eastern Puzzle, London, 1817: English remanufacturing of the Chinese 七巧图合璧  Qi qiao tu he bi, with all the 316 original puzzles consisted of in the 1815 Chinese version. An English introduction was added (British Library 15257.d.13)Right: First and second pperiods from the original Chinese variation, 1815 (British Library 15257.d.5)

Another widespread overview, Le Véritaderekwadsworth.come casse-tête, ou Énigmes chinoises, was puderekwadsworth.comimelted in Paris in 1820, and also it testifies to the popularity of the game in France in that period. The fascicountry for Tangram included some renowned characters, among them, reportedly, Napoleon and Edgar Allan Poe. Lewis Carroll, born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, writer and also mathematician, redeveloped the main characters of his novel Alice's Adendeavors in Wonderland using the salso pieces of Tangram.

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

Almany fifty years after the puderekwadsworth.comication of the 七巧图合璧 (Qi qiao tu he bi) in 1815, Tong Xiegeng, a scholar from the city of Hangzhou, occurred a brand-new puzzle made of 15 pieces, 6 of which through curvistraight edges. This new version of the Tangram was dubbed Yi zhi ban 益智板, or “Taballows for Enhancing Intelligence”. Tong Xiegeng puderekwadsworth.comished in 1862 a two volume book referred to as Yi zhi tu 益智图, containing a number of puzzles to be resolved via the fifteen pieces. These puzzles encompass scenes from classical Chinese poems or stories.

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

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A fifteenager pieces Tangram collection, ca. 1920 (British Library Or.62.a)

More recently Donald Verry took some beautiful pictures in the British Library building in St. Pancras and also called two of them “Tangram”. Can you guess from which spot they were taken?

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

 

Additional readingBussotti, Michela, “Jeux de taderekwadsworth.comes: le Yanji tu, livre sans texte d'«imperiods 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, New York: Dover Puderekwadsworth.comications, 1968Slocum, Jerry, et al., The Tangram Book: The Story of the Chinese Puzzle via Over 2000 Puzzles to Solve. New York: Sterling Puderekwadsworth.comishing Company kind of, 2004