Milan: Pietro e Giuseppe Vallardi, 1818. FIRST EDITION. With 133 hand-colored figures on 12 engraved plates. Contemporary wrappers with the original printed wrappers pasted onto both covers (title, etc., on front and publisher’s advertisements on back). Item #16058
First edition of an ancient work; the invention of this puzzle is unrecorded in history. Literally translated as “seven boards of skill,” the tangram is a dissection puzzle with seven pieces (five different sized triangles, a square and a rhomboid) in which players recombine the pieces to form various shapes such as animals, letters, numbers, and other objects. Little is known about the origin of the tangram, inasmuch as the earliest known book was only published the prior year in Europe. The tangram was said to be invented in China over one thousand years ago, then carried to the west by nineteenth-century traders. Archimedes apparently designed a tangram-like puzzle called Loculus Archimedes in the third century BC. Early Chinese mathematicians manipulated geometric shapes in their problem solving. The game helped train memory and logic. It boosts shape recognition, problem solving, and pattern design skills. It is noted that the Pythagorean theorem was discovered in the Orient with help of tangram pieces. It is a new take on the classic memory game with proven results.
The tangram has also been referred to as the earliest psychological test in the world.
Giraud (1776-1834), a member of a banking dynasty in Rome of French origin, was a comedian and author of comic operas and plays. He became director-general of Italian theaters in 1809.