Puzzle Toy

Japanese Vintage Kumiki Daruma Wooden Puzzle by Tsunetaro Yamanaka


Age:1970s

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 2-1/2" dia.

This is a Kumiki Interlocking puzzle. In Japan, the term "kumiki" refers to several different varieties of woodcraft, especially figural wooden interlocking puzzles or, in a broader sense, any wood construction toy with fitted parts. They are also known as "burr puzzles”, utilizing notched sticks, combined to make one three-dimensional, usually symmetrical unit. These puzzles are traditionally made of scrap wood, each handcrafted, and displayed as a small work of art. Each created in precision as is evident in how exact the puzzle pieces fit together. Every puzzle is totally made without glue and composed as an integrated structure, and free to take apart and put together.

These puzzles are said to have been used by master woodworkers as they tutored their apprentices in the art of constructing wooden buildings using interlocking pieces in the absence of metal parts or fasteners, and referred to as ‘Chiegi’, or ‘Chie-ita’ in the middle of Edo era.

Condition: Excellent as made with all working parts.

NOTE: This type of puzzle was first made by Tsunetaro Yamanaka (1874-1954) and a woodworker to design and construct puzzles in shapes like spheres and cubes and many times commemorating important Japanese figures such as Daruma. His grandson, Tsunetaro, continues to be guided by his father's creative works and who is credited for this piece.