Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||+ Seal A
[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 31 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 31st 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 31 was in August 1930 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment sixteen (of fifty).
However, 31 was one of the designs which Rakusan found very difficult to print economically, and it was reportedly never reprinted.
Only the single initial print run of about 200 copies was ever produced.
The copy illustrated here is typical of that edition I printing.
Rakusan considered 31 to be one of his best designs and included it in at least three formal presentation albums between 1935 and 1940.
31alt, a woodblock print of an alternate sketch of the same design subject was issued the month before the initial printing of 31 as a preview advertisement (see Related Designs below).
Copies in Public Collections:
Edition I: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA; (1951) 51.2486 [not illustrated online].
Japanese Bush-clover, Lespedeza bicolor
, 萩, はぎ, ハギ, hagi
, is a native shrub which typically blooms in the autumn in Japan.
It is one of the traditional floral symbols of that season.
Great Tit, Parus major, is 四十雀, しじゅうから, シジュウカラ, shijuu-kara (or しじゅうがら, シジュウガラ, shijuu-gara), lit. '40 tit'.
Great Tit is one of several species which appear twice in this series (see links to design 55 below).
With the meaning 'tit', 雀 (which has other meanings and readings) is read, から, カラ, kara (or がら, ガラ, gara).
In the title-caption for 31 Rakusan described the birds only as 飛, to(bi), roughly meaning 'flying' which he used together with the general name for 'tit'.