The Tangram Runner

Tangram Sample NFTThe Tangram Runner

On some of the NFTs in the Mathemagical Mahira NFT Collection, a colorful runner made of colorful geometric shapes appears on the chalkboard. This design is called a Tangram.

The tangram puzzle came from China and it’s known as the “seven boards of skill.”  The actual term “tangram” appears to have been coined by Thomas Hill, a president of Harvard University when he used it in his 1848 book Geometrical Puzzle for the Young.

A tangram is a fitted puzzle made of seven polygons or “tans.” The player takes a pattern from a book or set of cards and tries to recreate it with the tangram pieces. This type of puzzle is called a dissection puzzle. The patterns look like candles, birds, cats, rockets, and more. The puzzles show a design in silhouette and the solutions show the outlines of the individual pieces. In the case of the Mathemagical Mahira NFT Collection, a tangram solution appears on the chalkboard behind Mahira in some of the NFTs and the pattern forms a running person, our “Tangram Runner.”  There are over one Billion tangram patterns that can be made with 7 tans.

A tangram is stored with all seven pieces forming a square. Each set is made up of five right triangles (two small, one medium, and two large), one square, and one parallelogram. In the 1903, an author named Sam Loyd wrote a book called the 8th book of Tan, where he told a tale about the supposed history of the tan, where the god Tan created the tangram to teach a creation story. Although it has been proved to be a work of fiction, not history, his “origin tale” is often referred to as factual.  What we do know is that his book created a sensation at the time and by 1818, books of puzzles and solutions were extremely popular and a variety of tangram sets were being produced, as simple tile sets to intricate carved ivory sets. 

Try solving a tangram puzzle with one of these online tangram generators: