Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||+ Seal A
||+ 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.]
The indentification of this design as number 60 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 60th 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 60 was in October 1931 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment thirty (of fifty).
However, additional edition I printings of 60 may have continued until as late as 1933.
The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.
For edition II of 60 Rakusan made extensive changes in color, including muting the background and introducing red as the dominant hue in the vegetation. He also significantly simplified his printing to use fewer colors and impressions. Generally, edition II copies in this series can only be approximately dated to between 1935 and 1941. However, the thin paper stock and the greatly altered palette indicates that edition II of 60 was printed late within that interval after printing supplies had become difficult to obtain. Edition II copies of 60 are seldom encountered which suggests only a single, small print run was ever produced. No edition III printings of 60 are currently known. The edition II copy of 60 illustrated below includes a romaji signature at lower left.
|60 (edition I)
||60 (edition II)
The woodblock print of 60 was based on an original painting on silk whose current location is unknown. Although it was originally believed that Rakusan had painted all one hundred designs before publishing any of them as woodblock prints, the design for 60 proves that at least some were created significantly later.
The publication of the first volumes of colorful lithographic plates for 鳥類寫生圖譜 (now 鳥類写生図譜), Chourui Shasei Zufu (CSZ), (1927-1938) was one of the main influences which inspired Rakusan to create this woodblock print series.
[The exploration of this influence is the subject of a forthcoming article to appear on this website.]
Rakusan took the images of both birds directly from the ornithological plate for CSZ #36 which was published as volume 2, number 6 in that series. However, that plate did not first appear until about halfway between the beginning of 1929 and mid 1930, and by then about 20% of Rakusan's own series had already appeared. The model for the male bird is at upper right, and the one for the female bird is at lower right.
|Ornithological Plate for CSZ #36 (v2:6), the direct source of the Rakusan birds in 60
60 is also unusual in that the composition includes three botanical species, only the first of which is listed in the title-caption.
Japanese Beautyberry, Callicarpa japonica, is today most often called 紫式部, むらさきしきぶ, ムラサキシキブ, murasaki-shikibu.
The name Rakusan wrote is still sometimes used instead, 紫もどき, murasaki-modoki, lit. 'mock purple'.
(紫 murasaki is 'purple, violet', and 擬き, もどき, modoki is 'pseudo, mock'.)
This Japanese native ornamental shrub or small tree is often grown for its bright purple-violet berries which are also used in floral arrangements. Beautyberry loses its leaves in winter, and in 60 Rakusan shows the bare branches with a few berries left over from the autumn.
Japanese Pittosporum (Japanese Cheesewood, Japanese Mock-orange), 扉, 海桐, とべら, トベラ, tobira, is a native small tree with aromatic flowers.
It is now often planted as an evergreen ornamental in many countries.
Today the tree is also called in English 'tobira' (sometimes spelled 'tobera') from its Japanese name.
The pittosporum branches with the terminal clusters of oval leaves appear here at top center and at right.
Bamboo stems appear at left and lower center.
The species cannot be determined but appears to be a taller type usually called by the general name 竹, take, in Japanese.
Siberian Rubythroat, Luscina calliope, 野駒, のごま, ノゴマ, no-goma, lit. 'field robin' sometimes winters in Japan, but is otherwise a passage migrant.
Because Rakusan borrowed images for this species, it is possible that he was not personally familiar with it.