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Unite the Three Talents (巧合三才)

Historically, the puzzle Unite the Three Talents has been categorized as a geometric cut-and-assemble puzzle. A record of this brain teaser can be found in the Collections of Ehuan Tricks Volume V: Mechanical Approaches written in the Qing Dynasty. In terms of modern edutainment, Unite the Three Talents would be considered a manipulative, solitary problem-solving toy in the category of assembly puzzle games.
Assembly puzzles are typically divided into three different groups: graphic puzzles, problem-solving puzzles, and geometric puzzles. Divide the Four Delights and Unite the Three Talents are good examples of geometric assembly puzzles. The challenge of playing both is to separate the geometric shapes and reassemble them into a new configuration.
When playing Unite the Three Talents, a player has to cut a piece of five-grid paper into three smaller pieces, each piece representing either “heaven, earth, or humanity.” The three pieces are all irregular shapes, but if assembled properly, they will form a neat square.
There are in fact many more challenging versions of Unite the Three Talents, including some that contain various numbers of grids or others whose objective is to form shapes other than a square. In ancient China the equal-area aspect of Unite the Three Talents was used to verify geometrical formulas such as the Pythagorean theorem.


National Digital Archives Program—UEPlay Digital Museum - Intellectual Games, Department of Plastic Design (Graduate Program of Toy and Game Design), National Taipei University of Education