Next up is the Dragon Wing Puzzle by Shiro Tajima. Created in November 2011 and distributed initially as a Karakuri gift, it was, in my opinion, the most unique looking puzzle of the set. As other collectors have described, I too had no idea what to make of it. Probably one of the most curious looking puzzles I have ever seen! Accustomed to puzzles with symmetric shape, I was not prepared for the Dragon Wing puzzles odd configuration.
Crafted in Japanese Raisin Tree and Walnut, it is a very beautiful oblong puzzle but I initially did not see how it resembled a Dragon in any sense of the word. Finding the first few steps and reading Tajima’s description, (“In the pitch darkness of night you can hear the fearsome roar. The dragon spreads open both of its wings and will fly away at any moment.”), it was not difficult to see how this Karakuri Box got its name. In closed format, it looks and feels (as portions are spring loaded) compacted and inviting to open. I don’t want to spoil the solution on this puzzle, but I will offer that it does resemble a dragon in flight when opened, hiding a small secret compartment in the belly of the beast.
The Puzzle measures approximately 7.6 x 3.1 x 2.6 inches and directions detail how the sequence of how it opens. I did have a little trouble with this box on first attempting to open it. Because of the complex mechanism, the puzzle would hang up a bit. Mr. Tajima was kind enough to perform a few adjustments and now all operate flawlessly! Care should be taken in resetting the box mechanism as it is a unique piece!
I do recommend this Puzzle as the design and mechanism is so very different from other pieces that I have seen. Curious now if there will be a follow-up to the Dragon Wing box? I do have a small number of them for sale at the time of this posting.