Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||+ Seal A
||+ Seal B
[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 27 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 27th 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'.
Initial edition I publication of 27 was in June 1930 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment fourteen (of fifty).
The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.
Apparently, Rakusan encountered early technical difficulties with his first print run copies of 27.
Almost immediately the gold glitter, originally scattered over the still-wet background ink, reacted chemically with it.
As a result, each speck of glitter was soon surrounded by a brownish halo and the glitter itself was dulled.
Presumably because of Rakusan's unhappiness with this development, it is believed that unlike many early designs 27 was not reprinted later in edition I.
Therefore, the original print run of about 200 copies represents the entire edition I output of 27.
In spite of the unintended spotting, 27 proved to be a popular design.
Therefore Rakusan ran out of copies to sell, and 27 was among the first three designs reprinted in edition II.
However, in edition II Rakusan typically omitted the glitter entirely to avoid a repetition of the earlier chemical issues.
A well-documented sale of an edition II copy occurred in September 1935.
Other edition II copies of 27 can only be approximately dated from between 1935 and 1941.
No edition III reprintings of 27 are currently known.
27alt, a woodblock print of an alternate sketch of the same design subject was issued the month before the initial printing of 27 as a preview advertisement (see Related Designs below).
Japanese Morning Glory, Ipomoea (Parbitis) nil
, 朝顔, あさがお, アサガオ, asagao
, is originally not native to Japan.
However, it was imported from China about 1,200 years ago, and it is now important in Japanese culture.
Today, the species is pan-tropical, easily naturalizes, and its ultimate origins are difficult to sort out.
In Japan morning glories have been extensively hybridized and selected to modify its color and flower-form.
Rakusan used several different varieties in his designs.
Here the bamboo stake support indicates that the morning glory is growing in a garden setting rather than completely in the wild.
Yellow-throated Bunting, Emberiza elegans, 深山頰白, みやまほおじろ, ミヤマホオジロ, miyama-houjiro, lit. 'deep-mountain bunting', is a usually shy native Japanese songbird.
In 27 Rakusan shows the more colorful male bird.