The 8th Book of Tan by Sam Loyd
Modern civilization may be shown in a hundred different ways. By illustrating popular stories or fables; implements, trolley-cars or carriages, the changes of fashion, or any of the things seen in the ordinary affairs of life. Humorous tales may be told in pantomime, or we might portray fads or popular pastimes of the day. Here, for example, is a somewhat feeble attempt to illustrate a game of base-ball, wherein you may possibly recognize Casey at the bat, and Kelly's famous slide.
In the following view of a yacht race may be found a figure of a boat previously given to see if it could be recognized without explanatory remarks or accompanying pictures. It will be of interest to turn back and see what you supposed it to represent at the time. It is astonishing to find, after practicing with the Tangrams for some considerable time, with what facility we can see perfect designs in what had previously appeared to be utterly unintelligible:
Animal studies which present the subjects in groups and various postures, as already shown, are to be recommended as calling attention to traits or characteristics which many might never have noticed or thought of before.
The accompanying picture of a cage of lions is given to show how the figures may be thrown in roughly, without any attempt at detail or artistic finish, if the attitudes and characteristics of the animals are sketched with sufficient boldness:
Enough has now been said to give an idea of the scope of the original works and of the marvellous possibilities of that feature of the pastime which pertains to our little school of design. It is to be hoped that the reader has reached that point of proficiency in the study of black and white when there is no further necessity for mentioning the names of the pictures, so we pass on with the graduating class, and study historical paintings to see who are deserving of diplomas. Does the following bit of canvas need any coloring to tell its own story? It is given in the nature of an illustrated puzzle.
In the sweet by and by, when the second part of the Eighth Book of Tan makes its appearance, there will be recognized an attempt to formulate a plan whereby all contributions, be they 1,000 or 10,000, shall be worked into some harmonious scheme worthy of the occasion. It must carry out the original idea so as to tell its great story in pantomime without resort to letterpress descriptions. Each and every person who contributes one or more designs worthy of a place in the book will have cause to be proud of the same and will receive a present of an autograph copy as a graduating diploma.
But circumstances alter cases, and "The best laid schemes o' mice and men gang aft agley." We may possibly illustrate one of those little Chinese plays which last for three years; nevertheless, there will be little groupings and side-plays galore, like the following four tableaux which are just clamoring for recognition:
From an artistic standpoint the following copy of the famous painting of "The Fox Hunters" would have been more realistic if a larger set of Tangrams had been used in the construction of the horses and riders, so as to give the correct relative proportions, as shown between the dogs and the fox. This pictorial effect is lacking in all modern editions: