Monday May 23, 2022

Getting stuck into some Chinese traps.

There are some things in life that are designed to infuriate and delight at exactly the same time. One only has to remember the Rubik’s cube for example which caused as much anger as it did amusement. The Rubik’s cube is just a modern example of some early examples of the art of skill and trickery.  Two of the best originated in the country of China and they are the devious but ingenious Chinese finger trap and the intricate and seemingly impossible to solve Chinese puzzle box.

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The Chinese finger trap is ingenious in its simplicity as it is in its intricacy. Put simply you offer the trap to someone and ask them to insert a finger in each end of the trap. It’s usually a brightly coloured tube inviting the victim to have a quick probe. Even a call to a Locksmith Sheffield company like won’t see you released from it. The tube is made from bamboo, one of the hardest woods there is, and it is hard for the victim to resist to have a go. Once they insert one finger in one side and another in the other side the trap holds them fast and they are stuck and mildly incapacitated. The trick of the trap is that the instinctive thing to do is to try and pull the fingers apart.  All this does is tighten the trap and as the ends contract it becomes impossible to remove the fingers. The way out is to push the fingers further into the trap and this will open up the ends and allow the fingers to be released. The more you struggle pulling out the tighter the trap gets. The trap can be used in medicine as a way to treat an ailment known as Bennet’s fracture. The name also relates to a situation where relaxing rather than working too hard on a situation will provide a solution.

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The second item is a Chinese puzzle box. These are seemingly incomprehensible puzzles where and item of value is kept within the box. Only the person that placed the item in the box should know the combination required to gain access to its innards. The smooth or patterned box gives away no clues and it is a process of elimination at times to try and discover the part of the box that needs to be manipulated to spring it open. As this is usually only one action the clue is well hidden but in some case in the more intricately put together boxes there are a series of clue to find before it opens. Alternatively, you could just take a hammer to it.

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