Japanese wood inlay that makes pictures from the different coloured woods is called Zougan. The Hakone mountains area in Japan (the same area as Mt Fuji) is famed for the variety of trees that grow in the area. Craftsmen have been taking advantage of the natural forests and the wide variety of coloured woods to make traditional wooden crafts and art for centuries. But as the craftsman age and less people are taking on the training required to make these puzzle boxes we’re finding them very difficult to source so the ongoing stock of these boxes is uncertain.
As well as being quite a difficult puzzle box, with 12 steps to open, this is also a beautiful example of zougan woodcraft. And still the box holds one more secret with another small compartment to find.
One face of the box has Panda zougan (Japanese craft of inlay) and the other side Crane in Flight zougan. The sides of the puzzle box are decorated with different layers of the coloured woods used in the Panda and Crane. Only the highest quality Yosegi has been used for this box. The detail in the panda and the crane is just exceptional. The stamp of the maker is inside the box.
In Japan the crane is the symbol of happiness. We all know the Orizuru or origami Paper Cranes, but the symbol of the crane is recognisable everywhere, even used by Japan Airlines.
Size: 5 Sun Size outside: 150mm X 95mm X 65mm Size inside: 108mm x 78mm x 50mm
Sun is the traditional unit of measure of these secret opening puzzle boxes. Each sun = 3.03 cms.
The puzzle box comes in a paper-covered craft board lidded box with a solution and small brochure about the tradition of secret puzzle boxes inside.