The Tangram

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Without doubt the Tangram is the most popular put-together puzzle, and one of the most well known puzzles ever. The origins of the Tangram are unknown, but the earliest references date back to the beginning of the 19th century, China. That's why the puzzle is also known as the Chinese puzzle.

The puzzle consists of seven pieces - tans - obtained by dividing a square as shown in the illustration. To play with the Tangram simply print all the seven pieces and then cut them out.

Now you're able to arrange them in many different ways making an infinite number of nice, fun, and sometimes very puzzling figures. For every figure you have to use all the seven tans. You're allowed to rotate the pieces as you wish, and even flip them over. But you can't overlap the pieces.

We've chosen just a few most popular figures that you may assemble using all the seven tans. They will give you a good taste of the puzzle.

The two Men in the bottom illustration are developed by Henry E. Dudeney, and demonstrate a beautiful paradox. Both Men are assembled with all the seven tans, but one of them has a foot, while the other hasn't. Can you make both men, and then explain what's happening with the foot?
Posted: December 11, 2007
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