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 43 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 43rd 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 43 was in February 1931 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment twenty-two (of fifty).
However, additional edition I printings of 43 may have continued until mid 1933.
The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.
No later edition printings of 43 are currently known.
43alt, a woodblock print of an alternate sketch of the same design subject was issued the month before the initial printing of 43 as a preview advertisement.
Japanese Camellia, Camellia japonica
, 椿, つばき, ツバキ, tsubaki
, has been extensively hybridized and selected to modify its flower form, habit, and blooming time.
As the name implies, it is a Japanese native which still grows wild as well as in gardens.
The original form is winter-blooming and often flowers covered in snow.
For 43, and the related designs linked below, Rakusan illustrates a small, bell-shaped flower of brilliant red which encloses a brush-like cluster of yellow stamens, which is the most common wild form.
This variety occurs in more Rakusan compositions than any other camellia, and here he calls it 籔椿, やぶつばき, ヤブツバキ, yabu-tsubaki
, lit. 'thicket camellia'.
It may also be called 山椿, やまつばき,ヤマツバキ, yama-tsubaki
, lit. 'mountain camellia'.
Neither of these names are varietal names but instead mean 'wild camellia'. However, this and all other camellias may simply be called 'camellia'.
Although he had access to many varieties of camellias, Rakusan depicted only three different kinds in his woodblock prints, and examples each appear in the 100 Series.
The other two kinds of Rakusan camellias are at numbers 5 and 26, which in turn link to their own additional related designs.
Included in the composition, but not mentioned in the title-caption, is a large form of bamboo, 竹, take.
The birds are drinking from water collected in a hollowed branch-scar on a large tree limb.
The tree appears to be too large to be a camellia, but exactly which species it might represent is undeterminable from the visible evidence, and it is not mentioned in the title-caption.
The branch shown in 43alt (see link below) is smaller and rougher, and may be the same or different from the one shown here.
Crested Myna, Acridotheres cristatellus, is an exotic species often kept as a cage or aviary bird and in parks.
Today the species is usually called 八哥鳥, はっかちょう, ハッカチョウ, hakka-chou.
Instead Rakusan used かちん鳥, kachin-dori, lit. 'kachin-bird', where kachin is an onomatopoeic sound, 'clink,clack; clapper, etc.'.
The sexes are alike and what Rakusan shows could be any three birds.
However, here, unlike in many of his more naturalistic compositions, the birds are depicted in artificially elongated and stylized traditional poses.