Japanese Puzzle Box
Known as Himitsu-Bako this is a traditional Japanese Secret Box, or what we now call Puzzle Box.
To open this Japanese Puzzle Box, you need to find the first panel that you can move, usually by sliding it side to side or up and down. That will then allow the next panel to unlock and move and then another and another like a kind of chain reaction. When the right combination of movements is achieved the box will open.
Similar boxes were being made as early at 1830 and known as Hakone Hotsprings Souvenirs. They were commonly used for carrying sewing kits, even work tools, because others could not steal the contents because of the trick opening. They eventually evolved into what we commonly know today as a Japanese Puzzle Box. Around 1870, Mr. Ohkawn developed more complex opening mechanisms combined with the amazing Yosegi-Zaiku inliad mosaic woodwork that is unique to the Hakone area.
The Hakone Mountains of Japan has always been a popular tourist destination, even back then. The region is noted for it's great variety of trees. Hakone-Yosegi-Zaiku is a 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.
DISCLAIMER: The person who donated this was never able to open the box but she has seen it done.
Donated by: Vicki Vaughn
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