Chinese Puzzle Balls

These intricately carved Chinese puzzle balls are ornate decorative items that consist of several concentric spheres, that usually up to 7 layers deep, each of which rotates freely.

So how exactly are puzzle balls made? Chinese masters rotate a solid ball on a lathe and start by drilling holes toward the center of the objects. Then, using special “L”-shaped tools, they begin to separate the innermost balls. The tool with the longest upright has the shortest cutter, and the one with the shortest upright has the longest cutter. The craftsman lowers the longest tool to the narrow bottom of each hole in turn and rotates it to cut the innermost ball free. Then, using the second longest, which doesn’t reach as far down, but cuts a wider arc, he separates the second ball, and so on, from the innermost to the outermost shell. Because it is easier to work with, the exterior shell is the most elaborately carved, usually featuring an intertwined dragon and a phoenix.

Chinese puzzle balls are so delicate that they can only be carved by hand. It is a game that people can solve by aligning the holes of the spheres, but it’s not recommended you try to solve them, because there is a risk of damaging the concentric balls.

Source: odditycentral


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