This is the smallest Japanese puzzle box we stock. But size doesn’t always tell you everything because packed into this little puzzle box there are still 10 moves to get it open.
The box measurement is 2 Sun. A traditional unit of measure to denote length of 3.03cm. To open a Japanese Puzzle Box, you need to find the first panel that you can slide either side to side or up and down. This will then free up another piece to be able to move. And then another… and another…. until you’ve made all 10 moves in the correct order. Sometimes panels may be divided into sections so only part of a panel will move. This, and the accuracy of the workmanship and pattern, make identifying each panel incredibly difficult.
The Hakone Mountains of Japan are noted for their great variety of trees. Hakone-Yosegi-Zaiku is inlaid mosaic woodwork unique to this area and takes advantage of this wide variety of natural wood colors and textures to produce their elaborate geometric patterns. Yosegi-Zaiku handicrafts were being made in the Hakone area more than 1000 years ago in the Heian period and Personal Secret Boxes (Himitsu-Bako) using the inlaid mosaic technique were developed during the 1890’s in the region.
The pattern is Akasaya (or Red Saya because of the red wood). This geometric pattern has a series of fylfot (like a Buddhist cross) to make the pattern and you can see it in fabrics, wood patterns and lots of other design work in Japan.
Size: This is a very small Japanese puzzle box. 2 Sun (a traditional unit of measure to denote length) Actual size outside: 37mm x 46mm x 60mm Space inside: 26mm x 28mm x 31mm
Packaged in a lilac pressboard gift box. The puzzle comes with a solution sheet.
We found this YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljh4oBJD0QI of a Japanese craftsman making the Yosegi in the traditional way. We don’t know who this actual craftsman is but this is a good example of the way these puzzle boxes are made to this day. Just amazing to watch.