A Balkan Puzzle Box


This elaborately carved Folk Art Puzzle box shows a map of Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, & Yugoslavia. It almost certainly dates from around the Treaty of Trianon in 1921, which split up Hungary. Up to then Greater Hungary had included all four countries.

The inscription carved on the lid on Hungary translates “ My locks will open as soon as Hungary becomes Great again". The base is carved <KESZITETTEK BAGNARFIVEREK> " Made by the Brothers Bagnar". (In English this name would be "Carpenter"). The front has an eagle and <NEM NEM SOHA!> " No, no, never". The Eagle may actually be the Hungarian animal of fable the "Turul" which looks like an eagle but isn't)
The back below hinge <MEGY AJUHASZA SZAMARON SZEGEDRE> " The shepherd travels by donkey to Szeged" ( Szeged is a University town in the south of Hungary near the Yugoslav/Croatian border, the town lost a great deal of its size due to the Trianon Treaty in 1921 and even today there is a large Hungarian minority living in Yugoslavia in the province of Vojdvodina ( used to be Hungarian ). Unfortunately they had to fight in the 1999 war for Yugoslavia as they had Yugoslav Passports despite their Hungarian Nationality
Enlarge the Map

The inscription leads you to believe that the box is opened by manipulating the map.

<< mouse over to expand the map<<


Two of the irregular "tiles" carved in the front of the box are actually disguised buttons, which, when pressed, allow the lid to open. The moving map is just a distraction.



Thanks to Stephanvan Duyn, Budapest with help in 1999 with translation and explanation.


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