You are sure to have read many times that to open most mechanical puzzles you should not use any external tools. That the way to open the puzzle is to do certain moves in a certain order.
Well, this puzzle box definitely breaks some of the rules.
With this puzzle box, we’ve given you an external tool to use. A small round pole is included with the puzzle. You won’t need to introduce any other external tools but you will definitely need this stick to open the box. But what to do with it? Therein lies the puzzle. You’re literally thinking outside the box with this one!
There are three compartments in the box to be opened.
Wei Zhang and her husband Peter Rasmussen are researching the history of Chinese puzzles including the lesser-known puzzle boxes. There is a lot of information about the famous Tangram and the Chinese 9 linked rings but until recently information about the history of Chinese puzzle boxes has been more elusive.
Then they began travelling around Shanxi province in 1999 and found many examples of clever boxes, no two alike, in rural markets. They were not commercially made but rather a functional item used by households to hold property deeds and other valuables.
These days Mi-Toys in China is making modern puzzle boxes so that people can enjoy the challenge of opening a puzzle box, and it’s quite fun to hide a present inside and then give the box to the recipient!
The puzzle box is made from stained wood with lovely oriental lattice decoration on top and a Chinese saying on the side “stand proudly in the snow”. The tree often blooms vibrantly even amidst the harsh winter snow and so it’s seen as a symbol of resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity. The plum blossom is the National Flower of the People’s Republic of China.
At Mr Puzzle we have opened every one of these boxes to check the quality and that the box works as expected. Unfortunately, the quality of the finish on these boxes is not as good as we would expect so the price has been lowered to reflect that. Previously these boxes sold for $19.95.
I have shown a number of photos of different boxes because the paint staining does vary a great deal from one to another.
Even if the finish is not so good the box is representative of wonderful Chinese styling and a complex puzzle to make. It has a new type of opening for a puzzle box so even with some limitations of quality many puzzle collectors will want this one in their collection. I have tried to add to the photos some of the worst so I can give a true representation of the puzzle you will receive.
As with most puzzle boxes, there is no force required to open them however we do point out that the Plum Blossom box is not as robust as perhaps some of the other boxes like the Four Season series of Mysterious Chinese puzzle boxes and so would not be really suitable for children.
Size: 110mm x 110mm x 76mm
Size inside: Compartment 1 – 85mm x 83mm x 10mm Compartment 2 – 95mm x 90mm x 10mm Compartment 3 – 95mm x 82mm x 30mm (Compartment 1 (top) – see photo with money inside – the money is not included with the puzzle)
The puzzle is packaged with a solution in a solid plain white cardboard box.