御室桜に群雀(盛春) [on the print]

御室櫻に群雀(盛春) [on the folio]

omurozakura ni ore suzume (seishun)

Omuro Cherry and Flock of Tree Sparrows (Mid Spring)

オムロザクラに群スズメ(盛春)


Original Number

3


ADDITIONAL NOTES FOR THIS DESIGN
Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
Edition I: 楽山居 Raku-zan Kyo + Seal F
Edition II: 楽山篁子生 Raku-zan Kou-shi-sei + 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.]

Design History:
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 3 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 3rd 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 are known precisely because a copy of the delivery documents for installment two have survived. The first printing run of about 200 copies was completed June 8, 1929, and the publication date was June 10, 1929 in installment two (of fifty). However, additional edition I printings of 3 may have continued until as late as 1933. The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.

A copy of 3 is one of three edition II designs sold in late 1935, the earliest firmly documentated date for any edition II reprints. Other edition II reprintings of 3 can only be dated approximately from between late 1935 and 1940. No edition III reprintings of 3 are currently known.

This design is one of only a few in this series which include any manmade objects. In this design the upper background is of gold ink applied in a pattern clearly meant to represent squares of gold leaf, as are often applied to a Japanese screen.

Species Illustrated:
In Japanese the general name for any cherry is 桜 (or older style 櫻), さくら, サクラ, sakura. Omuro Cherry, 御室桜, おむろざくら, オムロザクラ, Omuro-zakura, is an old and distinctive variety of cultivated flowering cherry tree originating in Japan. The name comes from a famous and very old planting of these trees at 仁和寺, Ninna-ji, the head temple of the Omuro School of the Shingon Sect of Buddhism in western Kyoto. Omuro Cherry has double white flowers on low-growing dwarfed trees, and it is remarkable for its very late bloom season. (Here Rakusan notes mid spring for 3.) As with many kinds of cultivated flowering cherry, the species identification is subject to taxonomic disagreement. In the West it is often described as a selection (or hybrid) of Japanese (Hill) Cherry, Prunus serrulata, a tall wild species with orange new foliage and smooth bark popularly called 山桜, やまざくら, ヤマザクラ, yama-zakura, lit. 'mountain cherry'. In Japan this wild cherry is sometimes identified as Prunus (Cerasus) jamazakura (with the species name taken from a European spelling of the Japanese name). Omuro Cherry may also be called Prunus lannesiana cv. Omuro-ariake in Japanese sources.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Passer montanus, is today written in Japanese ornithological texts as スズメ, suzume, where it refers only to this species. However, popular usage, 雀, suzume, remains a very common general name for any sort of small sparrow or sparrow-like bird in modern Japanese. Here Rakusan uses 群, ore, 'flock (a general collective)'.


Related Designs:
Other designs with cherries:
88 81 67
130-1 130-2 130-3 130-4 130-5 130

Other designs with sparrows:
50 106-1
110-5 113-3 116-1 122-1 133-2