Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||+ Seal A
||+ Seal B
||San Setsu An Raku-zan
||+ 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 47 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 47th 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 47 was in April 1931 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment twenty-four (of fifty).
However, additional edition I printings of 47 may have continued until as late as 1933. The copy illustrated above is typical of edition I.
Later edition copies of 47 can only be dated approximately, edition II reprintings from between 1936 and 1941, and edition III reprintings from between 1948 and 1955.
47 is unusual in that Rakusan significantly changed the colors and background treatments for each edition.
Although the example photographs below were taken with different cameras and under different lighting conditions, the edition of a copy of 47 can be determined accurately even from such small scale images:
47 (edition I)
47 (edition II)
47 (edition III)
In edition I the tan background which represents the water surface is a single flat color with no shading except to indicate portions of the stems below water.
Additionally, the tan area was lightly sprinkled with gold metallic glitter which was applied while the ink was still wet and therefore adheres without glue binder.
In edition II the breast of the bird is lighter and brighter, and the tan background has been overprinted both with a thin gray bokashi in the lower portion and with two bands of transparent lighter areas.
In edition III the originally tan background has been replaced with a pale off-white. This has been overprinted with dark blue bokashi shading up fom the bottom.
Instead of being freely scattered as in the previous editions, the glitter has been applied heavily to block-printed glue bands.
Japanese (Water) Iris (Sword-leaved Iris), Iris ensata
var., 花菖蒲, はなしょうぶ, ハナショウブ, hana-shoubu
, lit. 'flower iris', is an originally native plant which has been extensively hybridized and modified.
(The same kanji can also be read hana-ayame
with the same meaning.)
There are so many variations that it is impossible at this remove to identify the exact varieties Rakusan illustrates here.
Ruddy Crake, Porzana fusca, 緋水鶏, 緋秧鶏, ひくいな , ヒクイナ, hi-kuina, lit. 'scarlet(-breasted) rail', is a shy native species in Japan.