Robin Cromer, Mahjong Dragon Box (CHESTS, CABINETS & BOXES 2023)

Mr Robin Cromer

This box to hold tiles for the game of Mahjong was a commission that created some interesting design challenges. The tiles need to be protected so the box and trays were lined with split suede pigskin. On the other hand, the tiles are heavy so the box needs to be strong. The box and four trays to hold the tiles were therefore constructed using dovetail joints. Special 'honour' tiles in Mahjong include the four 'Winds' and three 'Dragons'. A suitably menacing dragon was thus called for on the lid and this was made with hand-cut marquetry. Two additional small trays were constructed to hold the dice, counters and other extras. These can be lifted out with fingers and thumb using the wooden tab on the inside. The tile trays can then slide towards the centre of the box and be lifted out without the need for handles or tabs which would impede handling the tiles. The box is made of Tasmanian Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon), the trays are made of Tasmanian Celery Top Pine (Phyllocladus aspleniifolius) and the veneer inside the lid and the base are Oak burl.

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