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Monday, September 19, 2011

A Puzzling Situation

This week we are sharing a unique and (we hope) interesting post. It is a small collection of ivory puzzle balls. These amazing feats of skilled carving fascinate me!

Puzzle balls are made in China, usually of ivory, but sometimes jade, bone, or other materials are used. The ivory ones often come with a tall and elaborately carved stand.

To make the balls the sphere is first turned on a lathe and then conical holes are drilled toward the center. Layers are carved from the inside out. The more layers it has, the more intricate the piece. The largest can be over six inches in diameter and have over twenty balls inside! I just love the delicate and lacy look of the stand on this one.

Puzzle balls are very fragile and easily damaged. They are a tempting puzzle of trying to line up all the holes; but if you do try, use something soft and thin like a quill or a toothpick. This handsome guy was once a piece from a chess set. Wow! Imagine, it must have been fabulous!

 This is my latest find, and it’s incredible. 

Look closely! This one has eleven smaller carved  balls that are free moving on the outside layer! Way cool!

It takes very little force to damage the inner shells, and dropping them is usually fatal! So, one must use delicacy and patience to solve a puzzle ball. Since I have neither, I just look at mine, lol! 

Hope you enjoyed looking at them too!



We're linking to the following parties:
Inspire Me Monday @ Singing Three Little Birds
Pink Hippo Party @ Pinkapotamus
Market Yourself Monday @ Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Masterpiece Monday @ Boogieboard Cottage
Glitter Link Party @ Running With Glitter
Amaze Me Monday @ Dittle Dattle
Creative Blogger's Party @ Homemaker on a Dime
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Making The World Cuter Monday @ Making The World Cuter
Making Monday Marvelous @ C.R.A.F.T.
Show Off Your Cottage Monday @ The House in the Roses
Thrifty Treasures @ Southern Hospitality
Debbiedoos Newbie Party @ Debbiedoos Blogging and Blabbing

Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm
Tuesday's Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Twice Owned Party @ Creating a House of Grace
Club G.W. @ Charm Bracelet Diva
Time to Shine @ A Diamond in the Stuff
Anything Goes @ Type A
Tuesday Time Out @ Reasons to Skip the Housework
Table Top Tuesday @ A Stroll Thru Life
Craft Link Party @ Polly Want A Crafter?
Get Your Craft On Link Party @ Today's Creative Blog
White Wednesday @ Faded Charm
Sizzle into Summer @ DIY by Design
Wow Us Wednesday @ Savvy Southern Style
Primp Your Stuff Wednesday @ Primp
Wednesday Link Party @ Very Merry Vintage Style
Market Your Biz & Giveaways Blog Party @ Homemaker on a Dime

Treasure Hunt Thursday @ From My Front Porch to Yours
Open House Party @ No Minimalist Here
Time Travel Thursday @ The Brambleberry Cottage
Thrifty Thursday @ Tales from Bloggeritaville
Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Creek Cottage
Vintage Thingie Thursday @ The Coloradolady
Pearls and Lace Thursday @ Faith, Grace, and Crafts
A Crafty Soiree @ Katie's Nesting Spot
2nd Time Around @ A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words
Thrifty Things Friday @ The Thrifty Groove
Farmhouse Friday @ LaurieAnna's Vintage Home
Home Sweet Home @ The Charm of Home
Vintage Inspiration Friday @ Common Ground
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Inspiration Friday @ At The Picket Fence
Potpourri Party @ 2805
Flaunt it Friday @ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
Show and Tell Friday @ My Romantic Home
Finding New Friends @ Seven Alive

Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors
Seasonal Sunday @ The Tablescaper
Sunday Favorites @ Happy to Design
Sister Sunday Link Party @ Sisters of the Wild West
Sunday Showcase Party @ Under The Table and Dreaming


Riet said...

I have never seen these balls before but they look bautiful and intriging.
Have a nice day

Scrappy Pink Corner said...

Wow. Love these pieces you have. When I first was married I had lots of the ivory pieces because I had decorated my home oriental. Now I have the more traditional and antique look, but my sister still has the pieces. I always think of taking them (because I love them), back but she is enjoying them now.
Thanks for sharing.

Pati @ A Crafty Escape said...

What stunning works of art, my daughter would love these! Thank you for sharing.

❀ⒹⒺⒺ❀ said...

WOW! Your puzzle balls are amazing. They are beautiful works of art.


Ann @ makethebestofthings said...

Holy smoke, those ivory balls are amazing. I love intricate carvings of any kind and the level of skill required to do this kind of art is amazing. You have a beautiful collection and from looking at your blog, a very good eye!

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

WOW!! these are so awesome I have never seen these before..thanks for sharing these girls..Have a GREAT day..hugs and smiles Gloria

Tina said...

I haven't seen puzzle balls in a long time! My godmother had some but I wasn't allowed to touch them! Thank you for sharing.

Visiting from Debbiedoos

Anny said...

How beautiful!

~Tablescapes By Diane~ said...

Hi lovely lady.
This Ivy ball is Gorgeous !! You have a bautiful collection..
I would like to thank you so much for your sweet comments on my new black and white Tablescape. I hope you have a great week with your family.
XXOO Diane

⚜ ↁℯℬℬᴵℰ⚜@ Debbiedoos blogging and blabbing said...

Very unique! I love the vignette. Thanks for sharing with my newbie party.

lvroftiques said...

Boy howdy!! I have seen them and wondered what they were? Thank you for clairifying Patti! What a stunning collection you have! And so beautifully photographed too *winks* Vanna

Lynda @ Uber Savvy Buzzword said...

I have never seen or heard of these before. Most fascinating! Lynda

Grammy Goodwill said...

They are gorgeous. Wherever did you find them?

Just Jaime said...

They are really cool!

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

I'm puzzled. Just kidding. I've always loved the craftsmanship of these. You have a beautiful collection. Great taste, and a great eye.

Babs said...

Fabulous! Y'all find the most beautiful and unusual antiques. Thanks for sharing.

♥ Sonny ♥ said...

oh my Patty.. what beautiful unique pieces.. I know you must cherish those..

Red Rose Alley said...

Those are so unique. It looks like a lot of detail went into making them. They also look so delicate. Thanks for sharing the pictures and the story behind them.
~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

Gypsy Heart said...

How beautiful!! Very interesting too. I'm a new follower and I look forward to getting to know you two ladies. Stop by and say hi when you can!


Charm Bracelet Diva said...

I can honestly say that I've never heard of these mysterious, intriguing things! So beautiful. Thanks for sharing your collection and the history behind them. And thanks for linking up over at Club G.W. with Charm Bracele Diva!


karen said...

These are amazing, I've never seen anything like them. The craftmanship is stunning. Thank you for sharing.

Sanghamitra Bhattacherjee(Mukherjee) said...

I always enjoy my to visit your creative space. Thanks again for sharing another beautiful post.
Hope to see you on my blog:)

Gail said...

Thanks for sharing the delicate puzzle balls and their history.

Cottage and Broome said...

Beautiful!!! I have not run across theses balls before in my treasure hunting. What a great find. Laura Cottage and Broome

Judy said...

I've never seen anything like that before. It's really beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing these unique works of art at my Sizzle into Summer party.

once in a blue moon said...

what an interesting post~

Bella Vista Cottage said...

Hi....never seen these before but they do look interesting. I love the color...very pretty.


Mary Ellen said...

Wow these are amazing pieces of art and engineering!! The variety is amazing! They are truly lovely to look at and I think that if the person who made each one didn't have patience in the beginning of the project, they certainly must have attained patience by the time they finished!! Would you have any idea how long it would take someone to make one and do they still create these pieces?

bee blessed

Custom Comforts said...

Those are so beautiful! I have never seen anything like that before. Where ever did you find such a sweet treasure?

Daphne Nicole & Lynda Cade said...

OMG, all of your photos are gorgeous. I love your puzzles balls, their so pretty. This is my first time to ever see one, so thanks for sharing them!
hugs~~~ Daphne


Wow! I've never seen these before. Thank you for sharing them.

Happy White Wednesday,

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...


What a fabulous name for a blog! AND YOUR HEADER IS STUNNING....I SO LOVE IT and different from anything I have seen. YOUR WARES are magnificent! So you come over to me from Doré's blog? She is my sister in THEATRE making!

MUCH LOVE AND THANKS for such a treat for my eyes this morning! Anita

Linda said...

You have introduced me to something new and incredibly beautiful. I'd put these lovelies in a ver secure place where nothing could happen to them.

Magali @ The Little White House said...

This is completely new to me... Very interesting and truly beautiful.

June Scott said...

I would just be looking too, Patti! And thank you for opportunity to look at yours! Stunning!

MeMeSue said...

How stunning!!

Toni said...

I have seen this, never knew what they where called. Thanks for the bit of history. Great, unique collection.

Revi said...

Hi Patti,

Wow. I think I saw one of these years ago, and as intriguing as it was, it didn't hold a candle to your collection! They are lovely, and I should probably be kept 10 feet away at all times. :)

Your comment over at Revisionary Life just made my day! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm going to come back for a more in-depth visit tonight. For now, I'll start following!

Many blessings,

Revi said...

Your photos are amazingly beautiful! And I love the vintage ones. I forgot to say that before.

Kim @ Cheap Chic Home said...

What fantastic pieces of art. They are so beautiful and interesting.

Coloradolady said...

These are amazing. I have never seen one like this, but then if I had, I would not have known what it was! How interesting. Have a great VTT!

Teresa@oursoutherncountryhomeandfarm said...

I have never seen anything like this before. They do look oh so delicate, and beautiful.

Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage said...

You have some of THE most amazing collections I've ever seen! I thoroughly enjoy seeing and learning about them.

Thanks for sharing your lovely items at Time Travel Thursday each week. I love having you join me.

Liz @ The Brambleberry Cottage

Mary said...

These are beautiful! What a phenom and treasure. I love them displayed there with the pearls - they go so well together.

Gayle Page-Robak said...

I have never seen a 'puzzle ball' before and thank you for sharing these beautifully exquisite art pieces. So elegant! Love them.

Dragonfly Treasure said...

I've never seel these before. So ornate and gorgeous!! I think I'd just look at mine too!

Shabbily By The Sea said...

I have never seen anything like them,they are beautiful and the time and work that has gone in to them is amazing,

Jacque said...

WOW, I've never seen anything like that! How interesting!! I can't even imagine the SKILL required to make one of those. Your pieces are exquisite. Thanks for sharing!

Kathy said...

This is very, very interesting! I have never seen nor heard of these - I can just imagine how fantastic they are - especially knowing how delicate they are - now on the lookout!
Great job,

Ellen said...

I have never seen anything like this, I just love them.
Thank you for sharing these gorgeous puzzle balls.

LV said...

Thank you for sharing such a fascinating and interesting post on these ivory balls. In all my years, never knew of such a thing. They are very unique.

CAS said...

I'm amazed! I've never heard of these beauties before, & certainly have never seen one. They are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.
:) CAS

Ann said...

These balls are absolutely striking and intriguing. I've never even seen one in the fanciest antique stores, You have some fantastic examples. Never been to your blog but love it. I will now be a follower.

A Vintage Green said...

Absolutely beautiful - the first time I have ever seen such a treasure. Thanks for sharing.
- Joy

Pam List said...

very pretty!

Serendipity Handmade said...

Those are beautiful and amazing! So glad I stopped by to see them!

Shannon (Oh Baby! Unique Diaper Cakes) said...

Very interesting, indeed. I've never seen those before. I, myself, am a klutz, therefore I will stay very far away from your puzzle balls. They are beautiful and as my mother would say while strolling through the china departments "keep you hands in your pockets, and don't make any quick movements." Very cool!!

Frugal in WV said...

Those are beautiful! Thanks for following my blog, following you back :)

Debs Dealz said...

Hi Patti, Debs Dealz here to follow you back from your visit to my blog! I am so glad we connected, I love your site!!! I invite you to stop back over and link up to one of our daily hops, we would love to have you! Hop over and link up to Thankful Thursday (still open a couple more hrs), or the TGIF Blog hop!

thanks again for stopping by, I look forward to keeping up with you!

Angi @ CokiePop said...

Wow...these are super gorgeous. Love them all. And thank you so much for my prize. I received the gorgeous porcelain pitcher in the mail today. It is so beautiful. My mom is going to love this. Thank you again. Hugs. !!!

Honey at 2805 said...

The puzzle balls are beautiful and delicate looking! I can't imagine what kind of skill level you must have to make one, much less solve one! Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for linking to Potpourri Friday and helping to make it a success! I appreciate you, sweet friend!

Debra @ Common Ground said...

How amazing, I've never seen one of these! so intricate and very beautiful. So glad you shared these on VIF, xoxo

C. Joy said...

Yes, they are beautiful. But they make me 'nervous' - I can't help but look at them and be afraid they would easily break. It's amazing to me that one of those was/is a chess piece. Thanks for the beautiful pictures.

Curtains In My Tree said...

those are so interesting. where did you find them?

that is old art for sure


Diann said...

I have never seen these. They are beautiful and amazing! What detail! Thank you for joining TTF. Have a wonderful weekend!

Atlanta said...

Thank you for following Atlanta Military Mom! I am now following you as well! :)


vikki said...

These are beautiful. I have never seen them before. Thanks for sharing.

Upscale Downhome said...

Thank you for educating me about Chinese puzzle balls. They are absolutely fascinating! The craftsmanship is incredible and they are beautiful just to look at, too. Where do you find them?

At The Picket Fence said...

I have never seen anything like this but it doesn't surprise me at all that you would have something so amazing in your collection of treasures! :-) Thanks so much for sharing it with us at Inspiration Friday this week!

Michelle said...

Those are amazing!

Sherry said...

What a fantastic collection. You two have the neatest things! Thank you for linking it up at Home Sweet Home!

2amscrapper said...

Amazing art!

Richard Cottrell said...

What beautiful unique puzzles. I have had some in the past and sold them. They must have taken a lot of skill and a steady hand to make. You always have such fun things to share. Thanks for your trip to my chicken coop, Richard from My Old Historic House.

SJ @ Homemaker On A Dime said...

Simply beautiful!

Pamela said...

How very beautiful and interesting! Lovely having you visit for Treasure Hunt Thursday! See ya next week!:)

sissie said...

Hi Patti,
What lovely and delicate works of art.


Snap said...

Marvelous post. I've always been fascinated by these amazing works of art. I can't imagine the time and skill it must have taken to carve them. I would be afraid to touch!

Bohemian said...

Magnificent pieces... I always marvel at the Artisan Skill necessary to create such Masterpieces of Art!

Dawn... The Bohemian

corabeth said...

New follower from Finding New Friends blog hop! Hoping you follow back!! =0)

My Crazy Life

TigerEyes2001 said...

Those are beautiful! I've never seen one before. Hi! New follower from the FNF blog hop! I hope you'll follow back. Thanks! :)
Through the Eyes of a Tiger

Ramblin Mama said...

How beautiful!!! I've never seen these before and I am fascinated! I found you through the blog hop and I'm glad I did. I love all your finds (I've been reading through quite of few of your recent posts.) I'm eagerly waiting to see what treasures you share next.

Cottage Panache said...

Amazing, I think that the only place I have ever seen puzzle balls was on the market streets in Hong Kong. Was much younger and passed them up, kicking myself now! Yours are gorgeous especial the one with the stars on the inside ball. Thanks for sharing!
Maureen :)

Ann from On Sutton Place said...

Really pretty and so interesting. I've never seen them before. Lovely post...and the linky party list is amazing!

Chloe said...


I'm a new follower from the FNF hop. Hope you can stop by

The Tablescaper said...

These are amazing. I have never seen anything like it. So glad you're sharing them with Seasonal Sundays.

- The Tablescaper

bella said...

Wow! Those are amazing. Thank you for sharing :)

very merry vintage style said...

These are really interesting. Thanks for linking up to Share the Love Wednesday!

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Patti, What unique and beautiful pieces! You have the most wonderful collection. Thank you for linking to the Open House party.

Doni said...

Wow! I've never seen anything like that before, and here you have quite a gorgeous collection! They are absolutely wonderful! I love how you photographed them with the lacy background! Those should be featured in a magazine!!!
Thanks so much for joining me for Pearls and Lace Thursday with your pretties! And good luck on the giveaway!
Blessings, Doni


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