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 54 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 54th 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 54 was in July 1931 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment twenty-seven (of fifty).
However, additional edition I printings of 54 may have continued until as late as 1933.
The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.
No later edition printings of 54 are currently known.
Copies in Public Collections:
Edition I: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA; (1951) 51.1735 [not illustrated online except as a slightly-cropped greeting card reproduction].
It is very difficult to identify mallow cultivars from among the many species and hybrids.
Rakusan's name 紅芙蓉, beni-fuyou
, today is normally used to mean 'pink lotus', but it can also mean 'rose mallow', which is evidently what Rakusan intended.
Apparently the variety illustrated in 54 is a pale pink cultivar of (Swamp) Rose Mallow, Hibiscus moscheutos
, a species native to North America which comes in many color shades from white to red.
The modern Japanese name, アメリカフヨウ, amerika fuyou
, reflects the source of this originally exotic species.
The bamboo trellis supporting the plant clearly indicates that the specimen shown in the design is not growing wild.
Here, 紅, beni
, lit. 'red, crimson' but used for 'pink' and 'rose' as well, is interpreted as a color descriptor, and not as part of a species name.
Red-billed Leiothrix (Pekin Robin), Leiothrix lutea, 相思鳥, そうしちょう, ソウシチョウ, soushi-chou, lit. 'love-bird', is an exotic species often kept as a pet in Japan.
Rakusan would have used aviary specimens for his design. The two sexes are similar, and Rakusan likely intended to show a mated pair.