“Yosegi-zaiku” is the term used for the traditional Japanese marquetry technique which originated during Japan’s Edo period. Using different grains, colours and textures of wood, mosaic designs are made, most famously for Japanese puzzle “trick boxes” but also for other decorative items such as jewellery boxes, vases, frames and drink coasters.
Japanese Puzzle Boxes
How are puzzle boxes made? Different colour woods are combined and bound. When these are thinly sliced, a patterned piece is completed. These parts are then joined to create a larger pattern. It’s estimated there are approximately 60 basic patterns, and the way they are combined results in an infinite array of designs.
Puzzle boxes fascinate all of us. The box can only be opened using a particular combination of moves: sliding the various surfaces in different directions. It’s confusing, addictive and great fun!