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Jigsaw puzzles from Japan

Dragons

The dragon here is the mythical beast from China, not the lizard-like figure of Western imagination, but more a snake with legs and whiskers. And where do Chinese dragons come from? There is a gorge called Longmen ("Dragon-gate") on the Yellow River that flows so fast it is said that any carp that managed to swim up it will turn itself into a dragon, the King of the scaly beasts.

This page also includes portrayals of the dragon facing its arch-rival the tiger...

On this page: The dragon - Tiger and dragon

Separate page for tigers on their own

The dragon

Dragons of five colours
© Harai Kayomi / Studio Oz

3000: Dragons of five colours (Kayomi)

This challenging puzzle includes no less than five of Kayomi's fluffy but fierce dragons. Five is the number of ancient Chinese elements, which are associated with the cardinal directions (including "centre"), and also with colours. So the central yellow dragon symbolises imperial authority, and manifests rank by having five claws and holding the magic ball. Around the four corners are the four protectorate dragons: Black to the north, Blue to the east, Red to the south, and White to the west. (These also match with the colours of the four protectorate gods.)

No biographical details available. She signs her given name Kayomi in Roman letters.

* This puzzle has smaller pieces than the standard size.

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 3000 pieces; 102 x 73 cm (40" x 29")
Code: E21105 (21-105 on box)
Retail price ¥4800 (approx. US$44.04 €36.64 £32.65)
Shipping from ¥2050 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$18.81 €15.65 £13.95)
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Kannon rides the Dragon
© Hojo Yuka / Sankoh

1000: Kannon rides the Dragon

A very matronly Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, stands barefoot amidships on a rather nice dragon. In her left hand she holds a flower (perhaps a lotus flower), while the dragon similarly clutches the symbolic Chintamani Stone (or "treasure ball").

This is a standard pose for Kannon, and this version is subdued in tone yet full of details. The image also includes a complete sutra for the elimination of disasters — this is essentially in Sanskrit transliterated into ancient Chinese, so a typical Japanese reader can make no more meaning of it than you can. Although Kannon is often known as "Goddess of Mercy", experts in Buddhism tell us she is really Avalokitêsvara, who was a man...

In stock
An Appleone puzzle: 1000 pieces; 50 x 75 cm (20" x 30")
Code: A10676 (1000-676 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.52 €22.90 £20.41)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.01 €9.16 £8.16)
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Ties between Man and Dragon (Earthsea)
© Nibariki

1000: Ties between Man and Dragon (Earthsea) (Ghibli)

Tales from Earthsea (2006) is loosely based on the stories by Ursula K. Le Guin - the Japanese title is Gedo Senki, or "Ged's War Chronicles" after the master wizard Ged in the story. This was the first animation directed by Gorō Miyazaki, son of Hayao Miyazaki.

Detail

Founded by Hayao Miyazaki in 1985, Studio Ghibli is an animation film studio which has produced a string of internationally acclaimed full-length feature animations. We also include Miyazaki's earlier work, films such as Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, produced by the forerunner company Topcraft.

In stock
Rare item: old stock, box slightly dented
An Artbox puzzle: 1000 pieces; 50 x 75 cm (20" x 30")
Code: N10251 (1000-251 on box)
Normally ¥3200 - special offer 10% off: ¥2880 (approx. US$26.42 €21.98 £19.59)
Shipping from ¥1000 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$9.17 €7.63 £6.80)
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Four dragons
© Nablange / Kokado

1000: Four dragons (Nablange)

Four dragons rally forth, looking quite angry, and each clutching its Chintamani magic stone. The four represent the four colours of the cardinal directions: white (W), blue (E), black (N), and red (S).

The full Japanese title is 四龍天昇, literally "Four dragons heaven rise", and the box also has the Chinese for "Four dragons" (Si long). The brush name Nablange is affiliated with the Kokado graphic art studio.

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 1000 pieces; 75 x 50 cm (30" x 20")
Code: E11486 (11-486 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.52 €22.90 £20.41)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.01 €9.16 £8.16)
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Longmen Gorge
© Izumi Kazumi

1000: Longmen Gorge (Kazumi)

A rather jolly illustration of the origin of dragons. We see three carp, one making the giant leap up a waterfall, where success means becoming a real fiery dragon just as we see at the top. The origin of this story is supposed to be a gorge on the Yellow Rive in China, but here the artist has given us somewhat fanciful topography, as the river wends its way down the ridge of a mountain.

There is plenty of variation in this puzzle: the bright azaleas and pine trees keep the background interesting, and particularly the dragon is a lively, finely drawn creature.

Izumi Kazumi is an animal artist who graduated from Osaka University fine arts department in 1984. Izumi is her family name.

In stock
Old stock
An Appleone puzzle: 1000 pieces; 50 x 75 cm (20" x 30")
Code: A10675 (1000-675 on box)
Normally ¥3600 - special offer 10% off: ¥3240 (approx. US$29.72 €24.73 £22.04)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.01 €9.16 £8.16)
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Black-winged Bahamut
© Cygames Inc.

500: Black-winged Bahamut

* This is a glow-in-the-dark puzzle.

In stock
A Beverly puzzle: 500 pieces; 36 x 49 cm (14" x 19")
Code: B85109 (85-109 on box)
Retail price ¥2600 (approx. US$23.85 €19.85 £17.69)
Shipping from ¥800 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$7.34 €6.11 £5.44)
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Blue dragon of the east
© Harai Kayomi / Studio Oz

500: Blue dragon of the east (Kayomi)

The blue dragon, protector god of the east, shows his teeth, while his long long tail writhes into the distance among the lightning strikes. He has, of course, his cintamani magic ball at the ready. The box includes the characters for 'East: blue dragon', and the Chinese reading 'Qing-long' for "Blue dragon."

No biographical details available. She signs her given name Kayomi in Roman letters.

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 500 pieces; 53 x 38 cm (21" x 15")
Code: E06054 (06-054 on box)
Retail price ¥2000 (approx. US$18.35 €15.27 £13.61)
Shipping from ¥700 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$6.42 €5.34 £4.76)
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Double dragon
© Beverly

500: Double dragon

Over a sea of tumultuous waves, gold and siver dragons face off, each clutching an auspicious Cintamani stone.

In stock
A Beverly puzzle: 500 pieces; 49 x 36 cm (19" x 14")
Code: B65222 (65-222 on box)
Retail price ¥2000 (approx. US$18.35 €15.27 £13.61)
Shipping from ¥800 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$7.34 €6.11 £5.44)
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Blue dragon of the east
© Harai Kayomi / Studio Oz

450: Blue dragon of the east (Kayomi)

The blue dragon, protector god of the east, shows his teeth, while his long long tail writhes into the distance among the lightning strikes. The box includes the characters for 'East: blue dragon', and the Chinese reading 'Qing-long' for "Blue dragon."

No biographical details available. She signs her given name Kayomi in Roman letters.

* This puzzle has smaller pieces than the standard size.

Not available
Discontinued December 2017
An Epoch puzzle: 450 pieces; 38 x 26 cm (15" x 10")
Code: E08039 (08-039 on box)
Retail price ¥1400
White dragon
© Harai Kayomi / Studio Oz

450: White dragon (Kayomi)

The white dragon has rather friendly-looking blue eyes, though his claws are sharp enough. This puzzle will not be easy, as almost all of the pieces are one shade of blue or another.

This puzzle can also be combined with E08039 "Blue dragon of the east" to form a panorama puzzle.

No biographical details available. She signs her given name Kayomi in Roman letters.

* This puzzle has smaller pieces than the standard size.

Not available
Discontinued December 2017
An Apollo puzzle: 450 pieces; 38 x 26 cm (15" x 10")
Code: P46502 (46-502 on box)
Retail price ¥1400
Double dragon
© Harai Kayomi / Studio Oz

420: Double dragon (Kayomi)

A pair of dragons make fearsome adversaries. But in Buddhist-inspired mythology, they are not seen as evil, rather as symbols of right. Here each dragon has one claw extended as if to fight, but in the other holds the wish-fulfilling jewel, or cintamani (in Sanskrit), of both Buddhist and Hindu tradition.

No biographical details available. She signs her given name Kayomi in Roman letters.

* This puzzle has smaller pieces than the standard size.

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 420 pieces; 52 x 18 cm (20" x 7")
Code: E52137 (52-137 on box)
Retail price ¥1800 (approx. US$16.51 €13.74 £12.24)
Shipping from ¥600 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$5.50 €4.58 £4.08)
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Tiger and dragon

White cloud tiger Blue thunder dragon

White tiger of the west - Blue dragon of the east

The panel above is made from two separate puzzles by the Chinese artist Song Qijin: White cloud tiger and Blue thunder dragon listed separately below. You can also combine these two vertically.

See also the matching Tiger and Dragon puzzles by Kayomi

Blue thunder dragon
© Song Qijin / Kokado Studio

2016: Blue thunder dragon (Song)

The blue dragon in Chinese mythology is the protector-god of the west. In this dramatic portrait, he boasts the sharpest teeth and claws, and clutches the usual chintamani magic crystal ball. Mount Fuji towers in the background.

Song Qijin (宋其金) is a Chinese-born digital artist, affiliated with the Kogado Studio (name in the original Chinese order, Song is the surname).

* This puzzle has smaller pieces than the standard size.

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 2016 pieces; 75 x 50 cm (30" x 20")
Code: E23078 (23-078 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.52 €22.90 £20.41)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.01 €9.16 £8.16)
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White cloud tiger
© Song Qijin / Kokado Studio

2016: White cloud tiger (Song)

A very fierce-looking white tiger, in Chinese mythology the protector-god of the west.

Song Qijin (宋其金) is a Chinese-born digital artist, affiliated with the Kogado Studio (name in the original Chinese order, Song is the surname).

* This puzzle has smaller pieces than the standard size.

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 2016 pieces; 75 x 50 cm (30" x 20")
Code: E23079 (23-079 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.52 €22.90 £20.41)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.01 €9.16 £8.16)
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Moonlit tiger and dragon
© Harai Kayomi / Studio Oz

2016: Moonlit tiger and dragon (Kayomi)

Traditional rivals, tiger and dragon face off under a full moon masked only by a sprig of cherry blossom.

No biographical details available. She signs her given name Kayomi in Roman letters.

* This puzzle has smaller pieces than the standard size.

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 2016 pieces; 50 x 75 cm (20" x 30")
Code: E23087 (23-087 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.52 €22.90 £20.41)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.01 €9.16 £8.16)
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Dragon vs. tiger
© Ozuma Kaname

1000: Dragon vs. tiger (Kaname)

The tiger, symbol of fire, and the dragon, symbol of water, are often portrayed as adversaries, representing the heaven-earth or ying-yang dichotomy.

Note that the tiger is quite naturalistic, whereas the dragon is an entirely mythical beast, and more like a snake with legs and horns than the giant lizard form of Western dragon.

Detail

This puzzle is also available in 2000 pieces (code A20047).

The painter Ozuma Kaname was born in 1939, in Niigata. He studied traditional Japanese art, and his pictures are generally based on traditional themes.

Ozuma is his family name: he signs paintings with the single character of his given name only.

In stock
An Appleone puzzle: 1000 pieces; 75 x 50 cm (30" x 20")
Code: A10311 (1000-311 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.52 €22.90 £20.41)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.01 €9.16 £8.16)
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