Japanese puzzle box (About Himitsu-Bako)
The Japanese puzzle box is a traditional Personal Secret Box (Himitsu-Bako) that was designed over 150 years ago in the Hakone region of Japan.
The Hakone Mountains are noted for their great variety of trees.
The Japanese puzzle box takes advantage of this wide variety of natural wood colors and textures to produce their elaborate geometric patterns.
The appeal of the Japanese puzzle box is not merely in its entertainment qualities.
It is valued as a Yosegi-Zaiku is a mosaic woodwork usually applied to small handicrafts such as trays, boxes and chests.
This marquetry technique is originated in the late Edo Period, and in May of 1984, was designated a National Traditional Handicraft by the International Trade & Industry Minister.
The geometric design is made by binding together various shades of wood.
Shaved off with a special plane, very thin sheets of wood are then used as an outside finish for various objects such as boxes.
For a craft item to be designated a Traditional Craft Product under the Law for the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries, it must satisfy the following criteria:
1. The article must be used mainly in everyday life.
2. The article must be primarily manufactured by hand.
3. The article must be manufactured using traditional techniques.
4. The materials should be mainly those that have been traditionally employed.
5. The industry must be of a regional nature.
Most Japanese Personal Secret Boxes (Puzzle Boxes) have a variety of difficulties ranging from 2 to 72 moves.
Japanese Personal Secret Boxes（Himitsu-Bako） use the ‘sun’ system to describe the size of a traditional puzzle box.
“Sun” is a traditional Japanese unit of measure to denote length.
1 Sun is about 30.3 mm or about 1.22 inches.
This system is used to describe the approximate size of Hakone Puzzle Boxes.
Note that the sun system does not describe the width or height, or the size of the inside compartment.
|Length (Inches) *(1 Sun is about 30.3 mm or about 1.22 inches.)|
|1 sun ( 1.22 )
1.5 sun ( 1.83 )
2 sun ( 2.44 )
2.5 sun ( 3.05 )
3 sun ( 3.66 )
4 sun ( 4.88 )
5 sun ( 6.10 )
6 sun ( 7.32 )
7 sun ( 8.54 )
Zougan puzzle boxes ( Wood inlay puzzle box )
Puzzle boxes that have pictures on their tops and bottoms are referred to as Zougan puzzle boxes.
The pictures are made from different pieces of wood of different colors fitted together perfectly into a block.
The block is then sliced into very thin sheets to produce the Zougan picture overlay that is applied to the box.
This is a very The Izumiya Craft’s Workshop are producing some of the finest work available today.
All new Izumiya boxes are marked with the mark at the right.