Currently Documented Edition Watermark, Signature, and Seal Markings:
||+ Seal A
||+ Seal F
||+ 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.]
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 67 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 67th 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 67 was in February 1932 (or perhaps slightly later), and it was delivered in installment thirty-four (of fifty).
Because this design was among the later ones in the series, it was unlikely to have been reprinted immediately.
Therefore only the initial print run of about 200 copies may comprise edition I for this design.
The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.
67 is one of only a very few designs in this series which have four differently marked versions, including two within edition II.
It appears from circumstantial evidence that the older of the two edition II versions is edition IIf with seal F. It is unknown why or just when edition IIa copies of 67 (and a few other designs) were produced on edition II watermark paper but with an edition I signature and seal A. Both Edition II versions of 67 were each separately reprinted sometime between 1936 and 1941. An edition IIf copy of 67 was included in a presentation album from August 1941, but it could have been printed years earlier. Rakusan typically selected his finest copies for important commissions, pulling them when necessary from his display sets and replacing them with ones of lesser quality.
Edition III copies of 67 are identifiable not only by seal B but also by a suite of color differences.
These include a band of greenish bokashi at the bottom of the design which is absent on earlier versions.
In addition the rusty orange color used extensively in the new buds and foliage in the earlier two editions has been replaced by pale greens in edition III.
Edition III reprinting was sometime between 1948 and 1955.
Copies in Public Collections:
Edition I: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA; (1952) 52.502 [not illustrated online].
Edition I: Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, USA; (1990) 90.18.11 [not illustrated online].
Edition IIf: Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Amherst, MA, USA; (1942.44.c) [illustrated online].
Edition II [seal not reported]: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA; (1951) 51.1741 [not illustrated online].
In Japanese the general name for any cherry is 桜 (or older style 櫻), さくら, サクラ, sakura
Rakusan described the cherry variety in 67 as しだれ桜 , shidare-zakura
, lit. 'weeping (pendulous) cherry' which today is popularly applied to any cherry with a weeping habit.
As with many old cherry cultivars the species identifications of Japanese Weeping Cherry, 枝垂桜, (枝)垂れ桜, しだれ桜, しだれざくら, シダレザクラ, shidare-zakura
, is open to dispute.
The variety originated in Japan and is unknown in the wild.
In the West weeping cherry is often described as Prunus x subhirtella
(a hybrid between P. incisa
and P. spachiana
Because that cross includes non-weeping cultivars, the varietal name pendula
is frequently added to describe the selected weeping forms.
Although Rakusan illustrates a pink semi-double form, the blossoms of weeping cherry cultivars vary from white to pink and single to fully double.
Sometimes weeping cherry is considered a form of Prunus spachiana
Japanese White-eye, Zosterops japonicus, 繡眼児, 眼白, now usually 目白, めじろ, メジロ, mejiro, lit. 'white eye', is a familiar native species.
The little birds are fond of overripe fruit and are sometimes easily captured when intoxicated and kept as pets.
Rakusan was fond of portraying these active little birds in several different designs.