This Chinese puzzle box came to me courtesy of Otis Cheng during IPP37 in Paris this past August. Those of you who know Otis and friends with him would know him by his signature style of photographing a puzzle in a Starbucks and posting on his Facebook page. Over the last several years, Otis (who’s from China and lives in Hong Kong and also an avid Twisty puzzler) would informally “exchange” puzzles with me at IPP. I would pass him one of my official Exchange Puzzles and he would pull out one of a number of puzzles which he had lugged over from Hong Kong and hand me one. Last year at IPP36, he gave me two “Sliding Block Puzzle Locks”. This year’s puzzle, like the two locks was made by Mi-Toys.
This Chinese Puzzle Box measures about 15cm x 8cm x 5.5cm and while nothing to shout at like those very fine wooden puzzles or boxes made by expert craftsmen, the quality here is ok, and the puzzle works. And it even has marks and stains of sorts and an aged look to it to lend it an air of vintage origin. The object of course is to open the box. The lid shows off two knobs, one on either end but apart from that, nothing that makes the box stand out. The box looks like any other ordinary wooden/puzzle box. There are Chinese motive etchings on the side and top and the words “Long Life”; I wonder why the text isn’t in Chinese characters as this would have been more suitable to a box of this nature. There is slit on the side, presumably for depositing notes and coins into it as a wooden piggy bank?
I expected not to have much difficulty with this one, but to my own surprise, I actually took longer to solve than what I had expected. I have not played with puzzle boxes in quite a while so perhaps I was a bit rusty and didn’t notice the trick needed to solve it. Indeed the “mechanism” was very well disguised. Which leads me to conclude that the craftsmanship is pretty decent after all!