kan botan ni misosazai (fuyu)
Winter-blooming Tree-peonies and Wren (Winter)
ADDITIONAL NOTES FOR THIS DESIGN
Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||+ Seal G
||+ Seal F
[For illustration of seals listed by seal code letter, see the Seals article.
For edition characteristics applicable to this series as a whole, see the Edition article.]
This woodblock print was produced from an original painting on silk dating from the late 1920s whose current location is unknown.
The indentification of this design as number 11 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 11th design in his series of one hundred woodblock prints called 楽山花鳥畫譜, Rakuzan Kachou Gafu
, lit. 'Rakusan's Flower and Bird Print Series'.
Edition I first printing details for 11 are known precisely because copies of the delivery documents for installments five and six have survived.
The design was first announced as upcoming in the documents for installment five sent out on September 21, 1929.
The first printing run of about 200 copies was completed October 24, 1929, and the publication date was October 25, 1929 in installment six (of fifty).
However, additional edition I printings of 11 may have continued until 1933. The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.
Edition II copies of 11 can only be dated approximately from between 1936 and 1940. No examples of edition III printings are known.
11alt, a woodblock print of an alternate sketch of the same design subject was issued the month before the initial printing of 11 as a preview advertisement.
Winter-blooming Tree-peony, Paeonia suffruticosa
or 冬牡丹 fuyu-botan
, both lit. 'winter-treepeony' is the earliest blooming variety of tree-peony and typically begins to bloom before the winter snow has melted.
Therefore, to protect the new growth the plants are typically staked and often protected from the weight of the snow by a woven grass mat as a kind of open tent structure.
In this illustration the bamboo stakes, rope ties, and grass mat (lower left) are all included in the composition.
[Rakusan also illustrated elsewhere at least one other kind of later-blooming tree-peony which defines a similar constellation of designs including number 10
in this series.]
Eurasian House Wren (or Winter Wren), Trogolodytes troglodytes, is ミソサザイ or 鷦鷯 misosazai.
The pairing of the wren with the winter-blooming tree-peony is a traditional Japanese symbol of the winter season.
It was also one of Rakusan's favorite subjects and he illustrated it in at least five surviving designs.
Other designs with both winter-blooming tree-peony and wren:
Other designs with winter-blooming tree-peony (but not wren):