Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Star Shape 3.5sun Japanese Puzzle Box

This star-shaped puzzle box was acquired from Japanese craftsman Hiroyuki Oka from his Etsy online shop. This is my first real traditional Japanese puzzle box and I was drawn to its different shape and design. Made of walnut and Japanese Keyaki with different colour tones, combined with a mosaic pattern (Yosegi) on the top and bottom surfaces, the box measures 9cm x 10.5cm x 4.7cm. In Japanese puzzle box dimensions, this is considered a 3.5sun box, 1sun = 3cm. Quality, fit and finish is excellent and all the moving parts slide against each other snugly but smoothly.

This box requires 5 moves to open. Like most Japanese puzzle boxes, the opening requires a sliding of panels which form the sides of the box. While not difficult from a puzzling perspective, it does require a bit of trial and error to figure out which panels to move and in which particular order. Given the odd shape, the usable space inside the box is very limited but you can still place small items like rings, keys and jewellery, but not all of it together tho'. Not that the box would afford any serious protection against theft, as the panels which form the shape of the box are all very delicately cut to fit and mesh against each other so precisely. Really quite amazing when you look at the craftsmanship and attention to details found on the inside. In the closed position, the box feels solid when handled but excessive use of force or abuse is definitely to be avoided, especially when sliding the panels.

Overall a nice and unusual shaped box which is out of the norm. At a very reasonable price of US$48 with worldwide shipping of US$7.40, the latter damn cheap compared with many other online puzzle retailers, I think this is one item that puzzle box lovers should get their hands on.

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