Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||+ Seal A
|Edition II: ||楽山篁子生 ||Raku-zan Kou-shi-sei ||+ 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 62 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 62nd 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 62 was in November 1931 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment thirty-one (of fifty).
However, additional edition I printings of 65 may have continued until as late as 1933.
The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.
Edition II printings of 62 can only be approximately dated to between 1936 and 1941.
An edition II copy of 62 is one of a very few designs to which Rakusan added a handwritten rendition of his Japanese title-caption (omitting the season designation).
No definite edition III printings of 62 are currently known.
Japanese Maple, Acer palmatum,
, is a much-hybridized and selected species of small ornamental tree.
Originally native to Japan, it is now planted widely around the world in many forms and colors.
Rakusan used the species in several prints and paintings at different stages in its growth cycle.
Here Rakusan used the descriptor 紅葉 kou-you
, lit. 'red leaf' which refers to leaves which have turned colors (especially red) in autumn, and not to a botanical variety.
His own translation of 紅葉楓 kou-you kaede
, lit. 'red leaf maple' is "Red Autumn Maple Leaves".
In 62 and in several plum designs (4, 123-1, 123-3, 123-5, and 123), small, striped, mounded gray or brownish ovals are shown adhering to the tree bark.
They are over-wintering adults of a kind of small ladybird beetle (family Coccinellidae) whose larvae are major predators of scale-insects. Their general name is 天道虫, 瓢虫, 紅娘, てんとう虫, てんとうむし, テントウムシ, tentoumushi. The particular species Rakusan illustrates is probably Chilocorus rubidus, 赤星天道虫, 赤星瓢虫, あかほしてんとうむし, アカホシテントウムシ, aka-hoshi tentoumushi, lit. 'red-spot ladybird-beetle'. Most of the time these small beetles are firmly attached to the bark of plum, peach, or other ornamental trees.
There are eight beetles included in 62, mostly adhering to the undersides and joints of branches.
Goldcrest, Regulus regulus, 菊戴, きくいただき , キクイタダキ, kiku-itadaki, lit. 'chrysanthemum-crowned', is a tiny, active, native bird.
In his rendition of the title-caption into English Rakusan transliterated the Japanese name rather than using the common English name (which he likely did not know).