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Countries & Continents

Contents

COUNTRIES

1. Australia (7) - Logi (9), George Luck, Csilla Platthy, Adam Laurance, Yumeya, Tuzzles, ‘Woodluck’

2. USA (5) - Fred Szatkowski, Angiolo Logi, Anthony Prischl & Paul Gibbs, Oswaldo Rosales, Village Toys

3. Japan (2) - Yumeya, Logi

4. British Isles (1) - George Luck

5. China (1) - George Luck

6. The Czech Republic (1) - ‘Jezopodi'

7. Finland (1) - Johan Olin and Aamu Song

8. New Zealand (1) - George Luck

9. USSR (1) - Angiolo Logi

10. Venezuela (1) - Oswaldo Rosales

CONTINENTS

1. Africa (7) - Anthony Prischl and Paul Gibbs, George Luck, Yumeya, Animal Magic, ‘Jezpodi’/ Animals in Africa, ‘ShumelkiStore’

2. North America (3) - George Luck, Yumeya, and ShumelkiStore

3. South America (1) - Village Toys

4. Antarctica (1) - Village Toys

WORLD

1. World (1) - George Luck


Countries and Continents (along with Nativity scenes and Noah's Ark), can be described as one of the more popular cluster puzzle themes. In short, the premise here is indigenous animals within the outlines of the respective countries and continents. 41 distinct works are identified by 16 artists/companies, with 13 countries and 4 continents. As with other cluster puzzles in general, not all here are true to the ‘no gaps’ premise, with on occasion considerable gaps. Likely, the various designers were unaware of the cluster puzzle premise and preceding works. Dating the works is generally problematical. Dates are generally not given on the puzzles, or with the accompanying literature where it exists. Many here have only been found upon contact with the artists or company, but many still remain unresolved. However, unlike other cluster puzzles in general, none of these appears to be particularly ‘old’, loosely stated. The earliest instance I can find is by Logi, of 1979.

Interestingly, just about everybody here was working in isolation, believing their idea was original. Two prominent exponents of the genre, albeit in different ways, are Angiolo Logi and George Luck. While both show multiple countries, Logi is mainly focussed on Australia (his home), with no less than nine examples, whilst Luck is more broader, with single instances of six countries and two continents. A recurring feature, not unnaturally, is that native designers typically begin with their own country. On occasion, they then expand, as notably with Logi and Luck.


In general, the puzzles are poorly documented in print. Only two references are known, Australia Puzzle. Contemporary Silverware & Jewellery by Angiolo Logi and British Jigsaw Puzzles of the 20th Century by Tom Tyler. Although extensively covered in Logi’s book, their appearance is by default, in that this is effectively a self-publication. Regrettably, this book is little known and is anonymous in puzzle circles. Tyler’s book gives only a mention in passing to Geoge Luck’s British Isles puzzle. And that's it!


Researching these from general online resources is more problematic than may otherwise be thought. Typically, background details are lacking, or non-existent. To this end, I have tried to make contact with the respective designers where practical. However, the response varied, from none at all to the opening up of archives! And then there are language barriers to overcome, particularly from Japan. I have done my best, or at least of the time I want to devote to this. Corrections are welcome.


Probably by a quirk of circumstance, Australia is by far the most favoured country or continent, with no less than seven artists of a total of 16 instances, with a magnificent nine by one artist alone, Angiolo Logi. This is thus indicative that the concept of such country puzzles in general and for any one country in specific is perhaps easier than may otherwise be thought (not that most people have reflected upon this). Furthermore, Logi has expanded here, without any dilution of quality. Therefore, this thus reflects very well indeed on Logi. With such a high number, one may think that perhaps the quality would vary, but this isn't so; each is of equally high quality. As can be seen, these are not merely variations of one another but are rather each distinct in their own right. Therefore, any omission or shortcoming by a would-be designer is therefore not due to the intrinsic difficulty, but rather the lack of imagination on the part of the designer. Africa and the USA are also other popular choices, both with five instances.


In general, I am broadly impressed by all these. As there are some considerable design implications to overcome. First, the restriction in the country outline, of which this must remain recognisable. Two, the constraints imposed by this on the animals within. Contrast this with a generic cluster puzzle, where both these concerns are not applied. Therefore, this type can be considered as of a ‘higher tariff’ of difficulty when compared, and so is more praiseworthy than a generic instance. However, this is not to denigrate a generic instance. This is still more than worthy in its own right.


Quite best how to place the compilation is not clear. Arguably, as countries and continents are of a related theme, a simple, overall single placement is best. However, as I do indeed differentiate, I have thus decided to place according to country and continent, as according to the frequency rather than alphabetically. Quite best how to place Australia is a little unclear; it appears to be both a country and a continent. For now at least, I will place under the country.


On occasions, more so than I would like, the designer for any one puzzle is unclear. Typically, this situation arises on artisan sites, such as Etsy, where it is not entirely clear if the work is original, or is taken from an existing instance. However, for the most part, the designer is indeed known. Where I have concerns, this is discussed in the text.


Wood is by far the preferred choice of material. Perhaps surprisingly, given the puzzle nature, even for commercial instances where it might otherwise be expected, not a single puzzle is of cardboard or plastic!


The general format adopted is that for any one country/continent I begin with a list of the respective artist/companies, followed by a brief overall discussion. This is then followed by a table, in which I list each artist/company, the number of pieces, and the date. On occasion, the number and date are not known, of which is shown by a question mark. Finally, each artist/company then has an in-depth discussion of the puzzle in question. Ideally, I would be consistent throughout, but the discussion typically varies somewhat in detail and depth. This is caused by various factors:

Detail to hand; sometimes it is made readily available, and sometimes not.

Response to my queries; some reply and some do not.

And vagaries by myself! Sometimes it is simply too frustrating trying to unravel a history of the puzzle, and other aspects, and so some entries have a bare bones entry!



COUNTRIES


AUSTRALIA (8)


Logi (9), George Luck, Csilla Platthy, Adam Laurance, Yumeya, Tuzzles, ‘Woodluck’, ShumelkiStore

As detailed in the introduction text, Australia is by far the most favoured country or continent, with no less than seven artists/companies of a total of 16 instances, with a magnificent nine by one artist alone, Angiolo Logi. Furthermore, Logi has expanded here, without any dilution of quality. Therefore, this thus reflects very well indeed on Logi. With such a high number, one may think that perhaps the quality would vary, but this isn't so; each is of equally high quality. As can be seen, these are not merely variations of one another but are rather each distinct in their own right.

Picking a ‘best’ overall from all the artists is an invidious choice, especially from Logi; they are all of a high standard! However, if pressed, I would select Logi’s ‘Land and Sea’, on account that it has one extra, pleasing innovation not shown by other ‘country designers’, in that it also has creatures of the sea surrounding the country. A very nice nuance indeed!


AUSTRALIA


Artist/Company

Number of Pieces

Material

Date

1

Angiolo Logi (9) See table below

7-24

Silver & Gold

1979-2002

2

George Luck

33

Wood

1992

3

Violet & Csilla Platthy

16

Wood

c.1985

4

Andrew & Bronwyn Savage

16

?

?

5

Adam Laurance

16

Wood

2002

6

Woodluck

9

Wood

?

7

Yumeya

20

Wood

?

8

‘ShumelkiStore’

7

Birch plywood

?



Angiolo Logi


Title

No of Pieces

Material

Date

1

Australia Puzzle

23

Silver

1979

2

The First Black Swan

12

Silver

1980

3

The Southern Cross

7

Silver

1983

4

The Compass

7

Silver

1983

5

Land and Seas

10

Silver & Gold

1986

6

Dreaming

24

Silver

1992

7

Brolga 

20

Drawing?

1999

8

Australian Birds Puzzle

?

Silver

2001

9

Standing Puzzle

9

Silver

2002


Australia - Logi (9), George Luck, Csilla Platthy, Adam Laurance, Yumeya, Tuzzles, ‘Woodluck’


Angiolo Logi, 1979-2002 (9)

Angiolo Logi stands head and shoulders above any of his fellow artist/companies in Australia puzzles,  with a magnificent nine, in contrast to all others, of just a single example. There are many compelling silhouettes here, with only occasional gaps that can be overlooked. Of note here is the high number of motifs. Furthermore, Logi has expanded here, without any dilution of quality. With such a high number, one may think that perhaps the quality would vary, but this isn't so; each is of equally high quality. As can be seen, these are not merely variations of one another but are rather each distinct in their own right. Therefore, this thus reflects very well indeed on Logi. Picking a ‘best’ overall from these is an invidious choice, they are all of a high standard! However, if pressed, I would select Logi’s ‘Land and Sea’, on account that it has one extra, pleasing innovation not shown by other ‘country designers’ in general, in that it also has creatures of the sea surrounding the country. A very nice nuance indeed!


    
Fig. x. Australia, by Angiolo Logi. Australia Puzzle, left; The First Black Swan, right

Fig. x. Australia, by Angiolo Logi. The Southern Cross, left; The Compass, right

Fig. x. Australia, by Angiolo Logi. Land and Seas, left, Dreaming, right

Fig. x. Australia, by Angiolo Logi. Standing Puzzle, left'; Australian Birds Puzzle, right

George Luck, 1992, 33 animals

George Luck’s instance, of 1992, his first country or continent (among eight others overall, with four in a batch of 1992), of 33 pieces. Luck has a long history in operating as a children's jigsaw puzzle business, from 1974, with what can be described as suitably simplified outlines, and this is thus reflected in all of his country/continent puzzles. Even so, there are many compelling silhouettes here, to the higher standard of no gaps. Of note here is the high number of motifs, 33, the highest for Australia.

Fig. x. Australia, by George Luck

Violet & Csilla Platthy, c. 1985, 16 animals

Puzzle inventory, in chronological order, with dates and number of pieces:

1. Australia, c. 2000, 16 pieces, 14 x 12 x 1.2cm, $45

A puzzle of uncertain origins to the designer. Four people are credited with it: Csilla Platthy, Sandra Platthy, Violet Platthy, Zsolt Platthy. However, it appears that Violet is the main contributor to the design. This has an Australian design number of 198502656, dated 20 September 1985, although I have not been able to find this document.

The animals include: Koala, Cockatoo, Emu, Wallaby, Quoll, Wombat, Possum, Sugar Glider, Kookaburra, Kangaroo, Echidna, Gecko, Goanna, Platypus, Bush Rat, Ring-tailed Lorikeet.

The puzzle is available commercially, from the Australian concern Wooden Crafts, for $45, laser-cut from a variety of native veneer timbers. Wooden Crafts seemingly stock a variety of wood puzzles and toys from a variety of Australian artists. They have an extensive country and continent range, with five puzzles, seemingly all by the (anonymous) same designer, as they are all alike in style. Australia is described on the site as:

Our wealth of experience began three generations ago by Violet Platthy, a skilled artist and painter, designing and cutting out by hand her beautiful decorative wooden plates.

It was Violet who drew the first Australia map puzzle with its interlocking animals while Csilla, her equally talented daughter, added the states on top.

There are two layers to the puzzle. The bottom layer features Australian animals and the top layer features Australian states. The reverse side of the puzzle has the names of each animal as well as the timber species used. 12 different wood species have been used including hoop pine, Queensland walnut, red cedar, silky oak, jarrah blue gum, turpentine, Victorian ash, spotted gum, maple, cherrywood and Eucalypt oak.

Today, the Australia double layer puzzle is still a bestseller!

This is available in two forms, in plain wood and coloured, of a more or less realistic rendering, but certainly not photorealistic. Overall, it is pleasing, with good silhouettes, most of the no gaps premise; any gaps are most minor, and can easily be overlooked even for the purist, such as myself.


Fig. x. Australia, by Csilla Platthy © 

Andrew and Bronwyn Savage, of Tuzzles, Date Unknown, 16 animals

Tuzzles, a children's puzzle company, headed by Bronwyn Savage, of Australia, have a single Australian cluster puzzle, of 16 pieces. However, despite an extensive website, the puzzle and details thereof, are non-existent! Rather, it is to be found on the PlayPus site. Likely, it has been discontinued. However, it is titled and described on the Playpus site as:

Titled

Australian Animal Mosaic

Description

A mosaic consisting of well known Australian animals. The Crocodile at Cape York, the Great White Shark in the Great Australian Bite, the Dolphins at Monkey Mia in Western Australia. Children learn a lot of interesting information whilst they practice their puzzle skills.

Upon correspondence (2016) as to further detail, Bronwyn told me:

This was a joint composing. The Australia map was designed by my son Andrew, he got half way then threw it at me and said "you finish it" so I suppose I also designed it. We always try to put something extra into our puzzles as we make "puzzles that help children think" and we make teaching aids to be used in a classroom.

But no more detail was forthcoming, such as the date.

The animals are portrayed in a simplified manner, as in the style of a children's puzzle.

Tuzzles


Fig. x. Australia, by Stuzzles

Adam Laurence, of 2002?, Austmap, $44, 16 animals

Adam Laurence, of Australia, marketed on the web an Australian themed cluster puzzle with his company AustMap, ‘The Australian Animal Map Jigsaw’. The website was fairly basic, set up to only market this single puzzle; detail was most sparse. I first saw this puzzle in 2016, but as of this writing (2020), the website is now defunct. The date is taken from the text on the puzzle. However, beyond basic detail, much else remains unknown; Laurence is anonymous on the web. I contacted Laurence twice previously, but he did not respond. Nothing now remains of the puzzle on the web, save for a YouTube video, of 2015.  This measured 20 x 14 cm, from 5 different Australian timbers - Silky Oak, Jarrah, Brush Box, Redgum and Blackwood. The 16 animals included:

Kangaroo, Emu, Bilby, Brush-tail Possum, Platypus Crocodile, Platypus, Crocodile, Sugar Glider, Kola, Goanna (monitor lizard), Eschida, Shark, Ring-tailed Possum, Tiger Snake, Wombat, Fur Sea and Manta Ray.

Overall, it is pleasing, with good silhouettes, of the higher standard no gaps premise. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2EFSW9BudM


Anonymous Japanese Artist ‘Woodluck’?, Date unknown, 9 animals

A single instance from an anonymous Japanese artist found on the ‘Eonet’ site. Details here are scant, to say the least. The site is in Japanese and is only followable with a translation. No detail is given as to the designer’s name or the date. The nine animals include: Kangaroo, Wallaby, Wombat, Koala, Penguin, Platypus, Goanna, Emu, Echidna. For what it's worth I first saw this in 2016. It is described briefly as:

After Africa, I was thinking of making Australian animals.

Australia is home to unique animals not found on other continents.

The combination of these animals was made into the shape of the Australian continent.

The puzzle itself shows recognisable Australian animals, although in the typical Japanese cluster puzzle style, of noticeably simplified outlines.

Fig. x. Australia, by 'Woodluck'


Yumeya, 7½” x 7½ cm?, Date unknown, 20 animals
Yumeya, of Japan, has an Australian puzzle in their cluster puzzle range (the others are North America and Africa). These are packaged in a box, under the title ‘Yumeya, Crafts & Toy Collection/Coordination’, and that's about all that is known of them! Quite who or what is Yumeya has not been established (there is next to nothing on the web, or at least in English). Are they a puzzle company? A jigsaw company? A toy company? A general store? Manufacturers? For what it's worth, they do not appear on Brian Chandler’s or Matthew Kwan jigsaw listings. As an aside, ‘Yumeya’ (夢屋) translates into ‘dream seller’. Further, there is next to nothing as regards literature on the puzzles themselves. There is next to no indication as to the date on the puzzles. Although dates can indeed be found in references outside the company, there is considerable doubt as to veracity and premise, and so I have decided not to detail. There is very little company detail beyond the name. All text is in Japanese. The designer team or designer’s name is vague. Sabu Oguro is sometimes credited. ‘Ditty. Tools’ states, in a piece on Saburo Oguro in regards of a Magritte Man:

It is made by Yumeya Autan, a manufacturer of wooden toys that had a workshop in Kyoto at the time.

Further, there was an apparent contract with the Swiss company Naef. However, given the style, these are likely by a single designer. Occasionally, the box has the additional name of ‘Otan’ (Autan, as above?). Whether these are distinct entities is unclear. Therefore, with so much uncertainty, this entry is subject to considerable revision for a whole host of reasons as above.
Background matters aside, the animals are of a rather simplified nature, and with occasionally forced articulations, although this is relatively minor where so. The animals are in general somewhat contrived on occasions (a typical feature from Japan), albeit still largely recognisable, albeit by far from the higher standards, but even so, retain integrity. There are a relatively high number of pieces, of 20.

Can anyone add to what is given above? In particular, I would like to put a date on these, if not exact than an approximation. Does anyone know of the Yumeya company? (I have looked in vain.) Or indeed, can add to the story in any way?

http://ditty-tools.com/80s-saburo-oguro-design-puzzle

https://www.puzzlehobby.com/jigsaw-puzzle-company-links.html


Fig. x. Australia, by Yumeya


‘ShumelkiStore’, Date Unknown, 7 animals

‘ShumelkiStore’ has an Australia puzzle among their country and continent range. Of note here are the considerable gaps, much more so than I would like. Nonetheless, it still retains a cluster puzzle nature, and so is thus included. This is one of the instances where I am unsure as to the originality of the design.

https://www.etsy.com/il-en/listing/552644108/wooden-puzzle-australian-animals-plywood



USA (5)

Fred Szatkowski, Angiolo Logi, Anthony Prischl & Paul Gibbs, Oswaldo Rosales, Village Toys


The USA is another popular choice, with no less than five artists/companies. With such a relatively high number, one may think that perhaps the quality would vary, but this isn't so; each is of equally high quality. As can be seen, these are not merely variations of one another but are rather each distinct in their own right. Picking a ‘best’ is an invidious choice; those by Angiolo Logi, Anthony Prischl & Paul Gibbs, and Fred Szatkowski are all of a more or less same high standard. Any one could be argued as best here. However, as Logi has been discussed extensively elsewhere, I thus overlook him here for the sake of variety, and if pressed, I would select Szatkowski.

Curiously, and no doubt coincidentally, puzzles in pewter feature prominently here, with Logi, Prischl & Gibbs, and Szatkowski all having puzzles of a similar cast pewter premise. All three almost certainly worked independently of each other.


USA


Artist/Company

Number of Animals

Material

Date

1

Fred Szatkowski

44

Poly-Resin/Pewter

C. 2007

2

Angiolo Logi

33

Silver

1987

3

Anthony Prischl & Paul Gibbs

?

Pewter

1994

4

Oswaldo Rosales

74

Wood

C. 2009

5

Village Toys

13

Wood

?



Fred Szatkowski, date unknown of 44 animals, c. 2007

Fred Szatkowski, an artist of Depew, New York, USA, has produced a single themed 3D cluster puzzle, of the USA, of 44 indigenous regional animals. This is cast of poly-resin with a pewter finish, housed in velveteen within a black wooden case, of 8½" x 11½", with a see-through Plexiglas cover. However, much background detail of the puzzle remains unknown. Although Szatkowski has a web presence, with a biography and contact details, he did not return my mail upon asking for further detail. This appears to be the only instance of the genre he did; his artwork is mostly of animals and nature in the conventional sense, many of which were turned into commercially available jigsaw puzzles.

    The date of the puzzle is most uncertain. His page on natureartists.com states that he has been an artist for 30 years, and so this at least gives a base point of 1987. Outside references on auction sites on the web date the puzzle as of at least 2007, although such instances are few and far between. As there is such scant detail, with many vagaries, I thus place this under ‘non-dated’ for now at least pending more detail is known.

    Background matters aside, these are a relatively high number of pieces, and although some of the pieces are solely of heads, many are indeed of the higher standards, whole-bodied, and they are without gaps or overlaps. The animals, in general, are quite good in their articulations, but not outstanding.

  Also, see Angiolo Logi and Anthony Prischl & Paul Gibbs who have puzzles of a similar cast pewter premise.

    Can anyone add to what is given above, especially of dating the puzzle? Does anyone know of Fred Szatkowski himself? Or indeed, can add to the story in any way.

https://gallery.artistsforconservation.org/artists/4724


Fig. x. USA, by Fred Szatkowski


Angiolo Logi, USA Wildlife, 1987, 33 Animals

Angiolo Logi (1939), an architect, and his wife, Ilaria Cornaggia Medici (19542009), a silversmith, of Sydney, Australia, can be described as major figures in the cluster puzzle genre, in both inherent quality, depth, and longevity. Among their range is a single USA instance, titled USA Wildlife.

The animals include  1 Alligator, 2 Armadillo, 3 Bat, 4 Bighorn Sheep, 5 Bison, 6 Blue Whale, 7 Bobcat 8 Coati, 9 Condor, 10 Deer, 11 Dove, 12 Eagle, 13 Falcon, 14 Flying Squirrel, 15 Frigate Bird, 16 Gannet, 17 Grizzly Bear, 18 Hawaii, 19 Kangaroo Rat, 20 Moose, 21 Mountain Lion, 22 Narwhal, 23 Native American, 24 Polar Bear, 25 Rattlesnake, 26 Ringtail, 27 Ruffed Grouse, 28 Sea Lion, 29 Skunk, 30 Squirrel, 31 Star-nose Mole, 32 Vulture, 33 Wolf

Among the animals, although not taking centre stage, a native American is prominent.

Also, see Fred Szatkowski and Prischl & Gibbs who have puzzles of a similar cast pewter premise.


Fig. x. USA, by Angiolo Logo. Silver, left, Drawing, right

Anthony Prischl and Paul Gibbs, USA, 1994

The company Makoulpa, with owner/designers Anthony Prischl and Paul Gibbs, goldsmiths and jewellers, have produced three cluster puzzles of a country outline theme, one of which is the USA (Africa is the other). These all show indigenous animal motifs in relief form, in different constitutions, of gold, sterling silver, and more recently in pewter. Such a metal medium is rare; the only other instance I am aware of is by Angiolo Logi. These were in effect begun in 1994, or at least in idea form, and subsequently in a simplified manner, without detail, before a definitive, final form in 1995. Each piece is detachable, detachable and can be worn as a pendant. All these are available as commercial items and are presented in a sumptuous way, complete with a presentation box, details as on the website link. The inherent quality of the motifs is most high indeed, with easily recognised motifs and with good articulations. Only minimal ‘wriggle room’ is needed on occasion.

    The USA instance is of a large format with many whole-bodied motifs, is impressive, although the exact number of motifs and quality is hard to discern from the photo.


Fig. x. USA, by Anthony Prischl and Paul Gibbs


c.2009, Oswaldo Rosales, 74 Animals

Oswaldo Rosales has created two cluster puzzles, both of a country theme, including one of the USA (the other is of Venezuela, his home country). ‘USAaminalpuzzle’ is of 74 pieces, and depicts animal species of the USA fauna, and is a big laser cut puzzle of 21" x 17" x 1/4". The inspiration for these came from seeing when he was a child, the work of the Italian designer Enzo Mari, namely of the ‘16 animals’ puzzle. There is a reference book of 2014.

The puzzle here has notably introduced articulations, more so than I would otherwise like, but even so, the puzzle retains much merit; it is not merely a collection of animals pushed together to fit.

http://www.oswaldorosales.com/sites/usanimalpuzzle/00_MAIN.html (home page)

http://www.oswaldorosales.com/sites/usanimalpuzzle/01_ABOUT.html (about page)

http://www.oswaldorosales.com/sites/usanimalpuzzle/05_GALLERY.html (preliminary sketches)

https://pixels.com/featured/usanimalpuzzle-minimal-black-ii-oswaldo-rosales.html

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/oswaldo-rosales.html


Fig. x. USA, by Oswaldo Rosales

 

Village Toys, Designer unknown, 13 animals

The company Village Toys, of Australia, have an USA cluster puzzle amid there country outline theme, simply titled USA.  

Animal Magic Wooden Puzzle - USA $50

Described:

Animal Magic is a series of colourful puzzles uniquely Australian designed and made by Sydney based artisans. The USA puzzle features animals endemic to USA, laser-cut from a variety of native veneer timbers.  Each animal fits together to form the shape of USA.

Suitable for children and adults aged 5 years+ (small parts)

13 puzzle pieces including grizzly bear, grizzly bear cub, bald eagle, mountain lion, rocky mountain goat, great horned owl, beaver, American red fox, American bison, raccoon, jackrabbit, skunk and bobcat

12 different wood species have been used including Queensland hoop pine, Queensland walnut, red cedar, silky oak, jarrah, blue gum, turpentine, Victorian ash, spotted gum, maple, and cherrywood

Puzzle measures 18cm x 14cm x 0.6cm

This is available in colour, of a more or less realistic rendering, but certainly not photorealistic. Overall, it is pleasing, with good silhouettes, most of the no gaps premise; any gaps are most minor, and can easily be overlooked even for the purist, such as myself.


JAPAN (2)


Given the propensity for the Japanese liking and designing of cluster puzzles, it is perhaps surprising that I have found only one instances of their country cluster puzzles by a native Japanese designer. Possibly, and even likely, there are many more.


Japan


Artist/Company

Number of Animals

Material

Date

1

Angiolo Logi

27

Silver

1989

2

Anon. Yumeya?

?

Wood

?


Angiolo Logi, 1989, 27 Animals

Angiolo Logi has a Japan cluster puzzle among his extensive country and continent range. These include 1 Ermine, 2 Brown Bear, 3 Crane, 4 Gliding Squirrel, 5 Starfish, 6 Butterfly, 7 Crested Ibis, 8 Seal, 9 Serow (goat-antelope), 10 Sable, 11 Squirrel, 12 Mandarin Duck, 13 Mount Fuji, 14 Hare, 15 Tortoise, 16 Sika Deer, 17 Wild Boar, 18 Kingfisher, 19 Snake, 20 Dolphin, 21 Palm Civet, 22 Racoon, 23 Groper, 24 Swan, 25 Long-tailed Rosefinch, 26 Wild Cat, 27 Macaque (Snow Monkey)

Again, among the animals, another iconic feature of Japan is shown, Mount Fuji, which is reversible as a chrysanthemum! Also, the Brown Bear is placed in its correct location, Hokkaido, the northernmost of its five main islands, whilst the Macaque is in Kyushu, the southernmost island. Very nice!

Fig. x. Japan, by Angiolo Logi. Silver, left; Drawing, with Key, right

Anon. 

Nothing is known as to this puzzle!

Fig. x. Japan, by an anonymous designer



BRITISH ISLES (1)


The British Isles has just a single instance, by George Luck.


BRITISH ISLES


Artist/Company

Number of Animals

Material

Date

1

George Luck

46

Wood

1992


George Luck British Isles, 1992, 46 pieces, 37 x 37cm. (1)

George Luck has a British Isles* puzzle among their extensive country and continent range. This is the only instance of the British Isles by anyone. As with all his puzzles, the style is simplified, as according to a child's puzzle. The puzzle has discrepancies as to the number of pieces: 38 (Amazon), 46 pieces (my count), or 47 (Tom Tyler).

The puzzle (in the context of a single page on ‘Puzzling Pictures’) is pictured in Tom Tyler’s British Jigsaw Puzzles of the 20th Century (one of the few instances of cluster puzzles) although not discussed beyond basic detail as to the title, designer, the number of pieces and year. From this, its ‘unusual’ nature is thus implied. The title is apparently somewhat variable. In an email, Luck describes it as Great Britain & Eire, as does Amazon, whilst Tyler gives British Isles Animal Map.


Fig. x. British Isles, by George Luck

* The title is complicated by various political nuances of the British Isles, UK, Great Britain & Northern Ireland and Eire/Republic of Ireland. Eire appears to have fallen out of favour. The British Isles seems the most appropriate, hence the title above.


Tyler, Tom. British Jigsaw Puzzles of the 20th Century. Richard Dennis, 1997.  See p. 110.



CHINA (1)


China has just a single instance, by George Luck.


CHINA


Artist/Company

Number of Animals

Material

Date

1

George Luck

23

Wood

2012


George Luck has produced a China cluster puzzle in wood among his extensive country and continent range. As with all his puzzles, the style is simplified, as according to a child's puzzle, mostly with simple line details, of eyes and limbs, mostly of a single colour. Some are more detailed than others, such as the Panda and Tiger, with true-to-life colour matching the animals’ coat/skins.


Fig. x. China, by George Luck



CZECH REPUBLIC (1)


The Czech Republic has just a single instance, by the native artist ‘Jezopodi’.


CZECH REPUBLIC


Artist/Company

Number of Animals

Material

Date

1

‘Jezpodi’?

12

Wood

?


Much remains uncertain of this puzzle from the Czech Republic, one of two in their range, the other being Africa. Ostensibly it is by ‘Jezpodi’, although who or what this title refers to is unclear. It may even be a shop title, rather than a person. As with many others, it is from a native of the country in question. Be all as it may, it is marketed on their ’Simira’ web page as well as Facebook. I also contacted them (2016), with a translation, but they did not respond. With the aid of Google translate, I translated what little text there was, but this was merely a broad company introduction with only basic detail as to the puzzle itself. It is described as:

The hand-carved wooden map of the Czech Republic contains 12 forest Czech individual completely colored animals made of oak wood. They can be put together as a puzzle.

40x25cm (animals are 2.8cm thick)

This is the only instance of the Czech Republic by anyone.

https://www.simira.cz/hracky-didakticke-pomucky/puzzle-mapa-cr-se-zviraty-puzzle-mapa-cr-se-zviraty-227911




FINLAND (1)


Finland has just a single instance, by the native designers Johan Olin and Aamu Song.


FINLAND


Artist/Company

Number of Animals

Material

Date

1

Johan Olin and Aamu Song

15

Birch wood

?


2010, Johan Olin and Aamu Song

http://www.com-pa-ny.com/products/secrets_of_finland/Finnish_Animals.html

Puzzle inventory, in chronological order, with dates and number of pieces:

1. Finland, 2010, 15 pieces

Johan Olin and Aamu Song, from Helsinki, Finland with their design practice COMPANY, designed in 2010 a single country cluster puzzle titled ‘Animals of Finland Puzzle’. The puzzle shows 15 indigenous animal motifs, of a fox, owl, weasel, wolverine, grouse, wolf, lamprey, bear, ringed seal, moose, marten, salmon, squirrel, rabbit, and swan. This is of birch veneer wood, and of which the ‘standard size’ puzzle measures 270 x 150 x 19mm, although there is a larger version. This was largely an independent idea, although of note is that the designers were familiar with Enzo Mari’s work in this field.The puzzle is made by a small Finnish concern, Haapareppu, in Joutsa. 

Underlying this is of a commercial nature, with the puzzle available in their own shop in Helsinki and in museum shops, selling for 42 euros, with sales going well. The puzzle is notably in the permanent collection of the Design Museum in Finland, of which this is free for visitors to assemble.

I contacted the company in 2016 and Johan was most helpful in responding to my queries.


   
Fig. x. Finland, by Johan Olin and Aamu Song



NEW ZEALAND (1)


New Zealand has just a single instance, by the migrant artist George Luck.


NEW ZEALAND


Artist/Company

Number of Animals

Materials

Date

1

George Luck

41

Wood

2005


George Luck has a New Zealand puzzle among their extensive country and continent range. This is the only instance of New Zealand by anyone. As with all his puzzles, the style is simplified, as according to a child's puzzle, mostly with simple line details, of eyes and limbs, of a single colour. Of note are the whales around the periphery.


Fig. x. New Zealand, by George Luck



USSR (1)


USSR has just a single instance, by Angiolo Logi. With the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, likely there will be little interest in returning to this country.


USSR


Artist/Company

Number of Animals

Material

Date

1

Angiolo Logi

44

Silver?

1991


Angiolo Logi has a USSR puzzle among his extensive country and continent range. This is the only instance of the USSR by anyone. As with all his countries, it is of a high standard, with compelling silhouettes. Again, among the animals, another iconic feature of Russia is shown centre stage, Matrioska (wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another). The figure also serves to represent an astronaut (and Mother Russia?)

USSR, 1991, 44 Pieces

The motifs include: 1 Matrioska (wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another)/44 Cosmonaut, 2 Horse (Przewalsky) 3 Snow Leopard, 4 Damsel Crane, 5 Bactrian Camel, 6 Saiga, 7 Pelican, 8 Flamingo, 9 Bison, 10 Spalax (Mole Rat), 11 Sturgeon, 12 Boar, 13 Rate, 14 Stork, 15 Lynx, 16 Squirrel, 17 Elk, 18 Beaver, 19 Ermine, 20 Dormouse, 21 Golden Deer from the Scythians, 22 Bearded Vulture, 23 Gliding Squirrel, 24 Arctic Fox, 25 Polar Bear, 26 Walrus, 27 Raccoon Dog, 28 Wolf, 29 Narwhal, 30 Cormorant, 31 Albatross, 32 Butterfly, 33 Swan, 34 Brown Bear, 35 Tiger, 36 Mandarin Duck, 37 Steller Sea Eagle, 38 Baikal Seal, 39 Owl, 40 Grouse, 41 Reindeer, 42 Lapwing, 43 Pallas Cat, 44 Cosmonaut/1 Matrioska

Fig. x. USSR, by Angiolo Logi. Drawing, left; Key, right


 

VENEZUELA (1)


Venezuela has just a single instance, by Oswaldo Rosales.


VENEZUELA


Artist/Company

Number of Animals

Material

Date

1

Oswaldo Rosales

34

Wood

2009


2009, Oswaldo Rosales, 34 animals

Oswaldo Rosales, of Venezuela, has produced two wood cluster puzzles of a country outline theme, one of which is Venezuela, titled Venezuelanimal (the other is USA). This is the only instance of Venezuela from anybody. This is a commercial venture, marketed on his Fine Art America page and Pixels.com and comes with a booklet, with information on each animal. The puzzles are also available on his website, of which he has created two dedicated sites for each puzzle, and is very pleasing. He describes this as:

In 2009 created the Venezuelanimal design (where I could express my love for animals in a fun and educational way), which made also as laser cut puzzle. Then, I began to work on the idea of making other countries, since there are so many interesting animal species to work with, so my first option was USA map, with its rich fauna. 

Upon correspondence (2016), he told me that he was inspired by Enzo Mari’s two cluster puzzles

The puzzle has notable gaps, much more so than I would otherwise like, but even so, the puzzle retains much merit; it is not merely a collection of animals pushed together to fit.

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/oswaldo-rosales.html

https://pixels.com/profiles/oswaldo-rosales?tab=about


Fig. x. Venezuela, by Oswaldo Rosales


CONTINENTS


AFRICA (6)


Africa is by far the most favoured continent (excluding Australia), with no less than six artists/companies. With such a high number, one may think that perhaps the quality would vary, but this isn't so; each is of equally high quality. As can be seen, these are not merely variations of one another but are rather each distinct in their own right. As alluded to above, this is thus indicative that this is not difficult as may otherwise be thought.

Picking a ‘best’ overall from all the artists is an invidious choice, as different styles are used here. However, if pressed, I would select Anthony Prischl and Paul Gibbs. This is true to the higher tessellation principles of the cluster puzzle (i.e. no gaps) as well as being of more compelling silhouettes than the other instances here. 



AFRICA


Artist/Company

Number of Animals

Material

Date

1

Anthony Prischl & Paul Gibbs (1)

34

Silver

1994

2

Anthony Prischl & Paul Gibbs (2)

5

Silver

1994

3

George Luck

26

Wood

?

4

Yumeya

?

Wood

?

5

Animal Magic

14

Wood

?

6

‘Jezpodi’/ Animals in Africa

15

Wood

C. 2014

7

‘ShumelkiStore’

9

Birch Plywood

?


Anthony Prischl and Paul Gibbs, USA, 1994, ‘The Africa Puzzle’ (1)

The company Makoulpa, with owner/designers Anthony Prischl and Paul Gibbs, goldsmiths and jewellers, have produced two Africa cluster puzzles amid their range (USA is the other) in two distinct forms, of whole-bodied animals  and heads. These all show indigenous animal motifs in relief form, in different constitutions, of gold, sterling silver, and more recently in pewter. These were in effect begun in 1994, or at least in idea form, and subsequently in a simplified manner, without detail, before a definitive, final form in 1995. Each piece is detachable and can be worn as a pendant. All these are available as commercial items and are presented in a sumptuous way, complete with a presentation box, details as on the website link. The inherent quality of the motifs is most high indeed, with easily recognised motifs and with good articulations. Only minimal ‘wriggle room’ is needed on occasion.

    The Africa instance is of a large format with many whole-bodied motifs, is impressive, although the exact number of motifs and quality is hard to discern from the photo, shown at a raking angle.

https://www.facebook.com/makoulpa/

http://www.makoulpa.com/product-category/miscellaneous/african-puzzle/


   
Fig. x. Africa, by Anthony Prischl and Paul Gibbs


Fig. x. Africa, by Anthony Prischl and Paul Gibbs

George Luck, Date unknown, 26 animals

George Luck has produced an Africa cluster puzzle in wood among his extensive country and continent range. As with all his puzzles, the style is simplified, as according to a child's puzzle, mostly with simple line details, of eyes and limbs, of a single colour. The giraffe and zebra are the exceptions, with true-to-life colour matching the animals’ coat/skins.


Fig. x. Africa, by George Luck


Yumeya, 7½” x 7½ cm?, Date unknown, ? animals

Yumeya, of Japan, has produced a single cluster puzzle of Africa in wood amid their three cluster puzzles of a country and continent outline theme (the others are North America and Australia). These are packaged in a box, under the title ‘Yumeya, Crafts & Toy Collection/Coordination’, and that's about all that is known of them! For more speculation on Yumaya, see their USA entry.


Animal Magic Wooden Puzzle - Africa, 14 animals, $50

Wooden Crafts, of Australia, have a single Africa puzzle in wood amid their five cluster puzzles of a country and continent outline theme (the others Australia, Antarctica) seemingly all by the (anonymous) same designer, as they are all alike in style. The puzzle is available commercially, for $45, laser-cut from a variety of native veneer timbers. Wooden Crafts seemingly stock a variety of wood puzzles and toys from a variety of Australian artists. Africa is described on the site as:

Animal Magic is a series of colourful puzzles uniquely Australian designed and made by Sydney based artisans. The Africa puzzle features animals endemic to Africa, laser-cut from a variety of native veneer timbers.  Each animal fits together to form the shape of Africa.

Suitable for children and adults aged 5 years+ (small parts)

14 puzzle pieces including leopard, giraffe, hornbill, gorilla, elephant, cheetah, African civet, hippopotamus, lion, zebra, chimpanzee, gazelle, white rhinoceros, Nile crocodile

12 different wood species have been used including Queensland hoop pine, Queensland walnut, red cedar, silky oak, jarrah, blue gum, turpentine, Victorian ash, spotted gum, maple, and cherrywood

Puzzle measures 18cm x 14cm x 0.6cm

As with all their puzzles, likely by the same (anonymous) designer, this is typically rendered in a more realistic manner than by other artists/companies, with detail and true-to-life colour matching the animals’ coat/skins. The silhouettes are quite good, with easily recognisable animals, and where not, such as the lion, where it is portrayed from the front, the artwork nonetheless remains convincing as to the motif. 

https://www.villagetoys.com.au/animal-magic-wooden-puzzle-africa


‘Jezpodi, ‘Animals in Africa’ Puzzle, Anonymous. At least 2014

‘Jezpodi’, a Czech Republic concern, have a single 15-piece Africa puzzle in wood amid their two cluster puzzles of a country and continent outline theme (the other being the Czech Republic) possibly this is a copy from elsewhere, but I may be doing them an injustice. The puzzle is available commercially;  Africa is described on the site as:

Background details here are scant indeed.

Description

10 piece wood African animal puzzle. It includes a base of the continent and 15 animals native to Africa. This would make a great gift for someone interested in science, nature or ecology.

Continent is 6 3/4" long, 5 1/2" wide

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/191385289/vintage-wood-puzzle-animals-in-africa?show_sold_out_detail=1&ref=nla_listing_details


https://www.simira.cz/hracky-didakticke-pomucky/drevena-mapa-afrika-se-zviraty-drevena-deti-hracka-krajina-puzzle-kostky-lev-mapa-skladacka-cesko-waldorf-cr-montessori-ceska-republika-227984


‘ShumelkiStore’, 12 Animals

‘ShumelkiStore’ has an Africa puzzle among their country and continent range. Of note here are the considerable gaps, much more so than I would like. Nonetheless, it still retains a cluster puzzle nature, and so is thus included. This is one of the instances where I am unsure as to the originality of the design.

https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/527371790/wooden-puzzle-african-animals-plywood



NORTH AMERICA (3)


North America three instances, by George Luck, Yumeya, and ShumelkiStore.



NORTH AMERICA


Artist/Company

Number of Animals

Material

Date

1

George Luck

26

Wood

?

2

Yumeya?

?

Wood

?

3

ShumelkiStore

12

Plywood

?



George Luck, Date unknown

George Luck has a North America puzzle among his extensive country and continent range. As with all his puzzles, the style is simplified, as according to a child's puzzle.


Fig. x. North America, by George Luck

Yumeya

Yumeya has a North America puzzle among their country and continent range.


Fig. x. North America, by Yumeya


‘ShumelkiStore’

‘ShumelkiStore’ has a North America puzzle among their country and continent range. Of note here is the considerable gaps, much more so than I would like. Nonetheless, it still retains a cluster puzzle nature, and so is thus included. This is one of the instances where I am unsure as to the originality of the design.



SOUTH AMERICA (1)


South America has one instance, by Village Toys.


SOUTH AMERICA


Artist/Company

Number of Animals

Material

Date

1

Village Toys

14

Wood

?



Village Toys, 14 animals, Date unknown

Village Toys, an Australian concern, has a South America puzzle among their extensive country and continent range. This is described as

The South American puzzle features animals endemic to South America, laser-cut from a variety of native veneer timbers. Each animal fits together to form the shape of South America...

14 puzzle pieces including llama, sloth, vampire bat, jaguar, howler monkey, macaw, tapir, anaconda, chinchilla, capybara, Geoffroy's cat, American crocodile, giant anteater, armadillo

12 different wood species have been used including Queensland hoop pine, Queensland walnut, red cedar, silky oak, jarrah, blue gum, turpentine, Victorian ash, spotted gum, maple, and cherrywood

Puzzle measures 18cm x 14cm x 0.6cm…

As with all their puzzles, likely by the same (anonymous) designer, this is typically rendered in a more realistic manner than by other artists/companies, with detail and true-to-life colour matching the animals’ coat/skins. The silhouettes are quite good, with easily recognisable animals.

https://www.villagetoys.com.au/animal-magic-wooden-puzzle-south-america



ANTARCTICA (1)


Antarctica has one instance, by Village Toys.



ANTARCTICA


Artist/Company

Number of Animals

Material

Date

1

Village Toys

11

Wood

?



Village Toys, 14 animals, Date unknown


Village Toys has an Antarctica puzzle among their extensive country and continent range.

Described as

The Antarctica puzzle features animals endemic to Antarctica, laser-cut from a variety of native veneer timbers.  Each animal fits together to form the shape of Antarctica...

11 puzzle pieces including hourglass dolphin, gentoo penguin, dusky dolphin, elephant seal, blue whale, crabeater seal, fur seal, emperor penguin, killer whale, giant squid and leopard seal

12 different wood species have been used including Queensland hoop pine, Queensland walnut, red cedar, silky oak, jarrah, blue gum, turpentine, Victorian ash, spotted gum, maple, and cherrywood

Puzzle measures 18cm x 14cm x 0.6cm...

As with all their puzzles, likely by the same (anonymous) designer, this is typically rendered in a more realistic manner than by other artists/companies, with detail and true-to-life colour matching the animals’ coat/skins. The silhouettes are quite good, with easily recognisable animals.

https://www.villagetoys.com.au/animal-magic-wooden-puzzle-antarctica



WORLD


On a related theme, George Luck combines everything, with a puzzle titled Wild World, of 1993, of 56 pieces.


WORLD


Artist/Company

Number of Animals

Material

Date

1

George Luck

56

Wood

1993


Fig. x. Wild World, by George Luck



SATIRICAL MAPS

Although perhaps not strictly not a cluster puzzle in intent, what is termed as ‘Satirical Maps’, popular in 1914 at the outbreak of the First World War, undoubtedly have a relation to such matters, and so I thus include here. The genre draws upon national symbols and stereotypes, such as a British bulldog, Russian bears etc., with each figure broadly filling out their respective country outline to greater or lesser degrees. The best as regards cluster puzzle/tessellation matters is probably by Louis Raemaekers, of the Netherlands, titled ‘Het Gekkenhuis’, translated approximately as ‘The Lunatic Asylum’. Raemaekers was an artist of some renown, said to be the best-known propaganda cartoonist of the First World War (although I was previously unaware of him). This is the only ‘tessellation’ instance of his I have found. His work was apparently common knowledge in the Netherlands, and indeed worldwide. As an aside, it would be interesting to know if Escher knew of this particular work. I am unfamiliar with any reference in this regard. Some other instances of note of the genre, but by different artists, are ‘Humoristische Karte von Europa im Jahre 1914’ and ‘Satyrische Europa Karte’.


Fig. x. Satirical Maps. Het Gekkenhuis, by Louis Raemaekers, left; Humoristische Karte von Europa im Jahre 1914 (anon), right

References

Logi, Angiolo. Text by Daniele Ravenna, editorial coordinator Linda Fox. Australia Puzzle. Contemporary Silverware & Jewellery. Puzzle Pty Ltd, 1994

The Discovery of Australia pp. 10-11, The First Black Swan pp. 14-15; The Southern Cross pp.16-17;  The Dreaming (Gatefold pull-out); Australian Land and Seas; The Japan Puzzle pp. 42-43; Stevie Wonder with Australia Puzzle p. 54.


Tyler, Tom. British Jigsaw Puzzles of the 20th Century. Richard Dennis, 1997. 

George Luck’s British Isles puzzle, p. 110.


APPENDIX


In the course of my studies, I compiled various lists of the data, and of which for general interest I show below.


Countries and Continents Combined, by Frequency. All Artists/Companies

1. Australia 8

2. Africa 7

3. USA 5 

4. Japan 3

5. North America 3

6. Antarctica 1

7. British Isles 1

8. China 1

9. Czech Republic 1

10. Finland 1

11. New Zealand 1

12. USSR 1

13. Venezuela 1


Countries, by Frequency

1. Australia 8

2. USA 5

3. Japan 3

4. British Isles* 1

5. China 1

6. Czech Republic 1

7. Finland 1

8. New Zealand 1

9. USSR 1

10. Venezuela 1

* Although the British Isles technically is not a country as such, I have placed under this category, as it seems over officious to have a separate listing. 


Continents, by Frequency

1. Africa 7

2. North America 3

3. Antarctica 1

4. South America 1


Country Instances Overall (including multiple instances by any one artist)

Australia 17

Africa 8

USA 5

Japan 3

North America 3

Antarctica 1

British Isles 1

China 1

Czech Republic 1

Finland 1

New Zealand 1

USSR 1

Venezuela 1


Artists/Companies

1. Animal Magic

2. Animals in Africa

3. Jezpodi?

4. Laurance, Adam

5. Logi, Angiolo

6. Luck, George 

7. Olin, Johan and Aamu Song

8. Platthy, Violet & Csilla 

9. Prischl, Anthony & Paul Gibbs

10. Rosales, Oswaldo

11. Savage, Andrew & Bronwyn 

12. Szatkowski, Fred 

13. Village Toys

14. Woodluck

15. Yumeya

16. ShumelkiStore


Page Created 8-9 September 2020 (text and then images). Added contents listing 22 October 2020
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