This is an interesting compendium in that the outer box contains six smaller boxes, each of which contains a game. On each of the sides of the smaller boxes is a picture of a part of a person’s body. So yet another game or puzzle is to replace the smaller boxes back in the larger box to create a consistent picture. Made in Japan.

This item could be seen as a puzzle or a trick. The idea is to remove the ring from the rope. However, the knot on the rope is sealed with sealing wax. One look at it tells you the task is topologically impossible – that is unless you know the very cunning secret. The advertisement is from a Davenports catalogue. Philip Treece has some interesting information on this item in his newsletter here.

When purchased in 2017 a typed note with the bottle said: ‘A ship in a bottle, vintage, a schooner in full sail, the bottle stopper unusually with a fouled anchor and Turk’s head binding. The underside of the bottle with the legend Liquor Bottle, Perth, Scotland’. Ships in bottles are often referred to as ‘impossible objects’ because it is hard to understand how the ship can be got into the bottle.

The mercury must be manouvered to fill as many holes as possible in the Eiffel Tower, without the mercury going out of play by falling to a lower level on the left of the puzzle. The item was made in France and the rules on the back are in both French and English. A number of players can be involved, the winner being the person who fills the most holes with mercury. The item can equally well be treated as a dexterity puzzle.

This is a modern example purchased from The British Museum shop in 2017. It was said to be painted by a Chinese painter. The stopper is probably agate. Both sides of the bottle are shown in the photographs. These objects are often referred to as ‘impossible objects’ because it is hard to understand how such detailed painting can be achieved on the inside of the bottle.