Wooden Vault (
A Wooden Vault's appearance probably varies. The one acquired by Gon has the form of a robed woman.
Appraisers and forgers look at 3 things when examining a Wooden Vault: the container, the glue in the seam, and jewelry inside. The container is hard to appraise, because the carving is usually crude and quality does not serve as a basis for authenticity. The seam, hidden with wood shavings and paint, can have its discoloration examined, 300 years of oxidization being the expected.
Due to the potential value of the content inside, Wooden Vaults are the target of fraudsters using several doctoring methods and/or tricks:
- Replace all jewelry with fakes.
- Leave some of the real jewelry.
- Bait with real jewelry in displays, then switch to counterfeits right before a sale.
- Replace with genuine but lower quality, contemporary jewelry.
- Replace with genuine but lower quality, period jewelry.
- Facelift: Use old wood to carve a fake period vault.
- Cauterization: Melt the (old, oxidised) glue in the seam and reuse it to reseal the vault (instead of using fresh glue), giving the impression of inviolability.
- Autopsy: Display a real, opened vault with its original contents replaced by cheap jewelry.
- Ostomy: Make a hole away from the seam, take the jewelry out through it, replace the jewelry with fakes, and patch up the hole.
The Wooden Vault was mostly used by rich people from 300 years ago for tax evasion purposes.
Yorknew City arc
Using Gyo to spot "residual aura" and find valuable items in the Bull Market, Gon and Killua get the winning bid of a "wooden statue" for 7,000. They take it along with some other items to an appraiser who analyzes it and claims that it's worthless. He, however, compliments the quality of the wood, stating that aged wood is a treasure to modern sculptors. The moment the appraiser was going to take the wooden statue into his backroom to "analyze" the quality of the wood, Zepile arrives in the shop and stops him. He then goes onto explain that his true motives were the contents inside the wooden statue and elaborates on the statue's history.
After Gon, Killua, and Zepile enjoy lunch together, Zepile opens up the Wooden Vault, revealing the treasure inside that emanates aura. Later on, they take the vault and its contents to the Preview Market and the moment it's displayed a couple of men try and question its authenticity. On the day of the Preview Market auction, the Wooden Vault and its contents sell for 355 million.
- In the translation of the 2011 anime adaptation, the item is referred to as "wooden trove".
Anime and Manga Differences
- While in the manga the vault shown is shaped like a robed woman, in the 1999 anime adaptation it has no distinguishable form and in the 2011 anime adaptation it resembles a seated buddha-like figure.
Intertextuality and References
- Hunter × Hunter's Wooden Vault concept is similar to and may have been based on the real-life "santo do pau oco" ("hollow wood saint") or other similar concepts around the world. According to popular Brazilian lore, these statues of saints were used in mining regions during the colonial period to smuggle gold or diamond dust and fool tax authorities, but with little proof this is taken as legend. Probably, this kind of image was made for the same reasons as in Europe, where, since the Middle Ages, wood carvings were excavated so that the pieces would crack less and become lighter.