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.]
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 68 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 68th 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 68 was in February 1932 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment thirty-four (of fifty).
However, additional edition I printings may have continued until as late as 1933. The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.
Edition II printings of 68 can only be dated approximately from between 1936 and 1940. Currently, no definite edition III copies are known.
However, because of the edition ambiguity of seal B, it remains possible that some edition III copies were produced ca. 1950.
Lotus (Sacred Lotus), Nelumbo nucifera
, is usually called 蓮, 藕, はす, ハス, hasu
, 'lotus', which is also a general name for any kind of lotus. Botanically, the species is today often called instead 大賀蓮, おおがはす, オオガハス ooga-hasu
, lit. 'god lotus'.
Lotus is culturally very important for its religious connections as well as for food and ornamental usage.
There are many names which can be applied to this species, and several other kinds of plants have names which incorporate names for 'lotus'.
Here Rakusan chose another name, 紅蓮 (a compound of 紅 beni
'crimson' and 蓮 hasu
'lotus'); which has here a special reading, guren
, 'crimson, crimson lotus flower'.
Common (River) Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis, 翡翠, 川蝉, かわせみ, カワセミ, kawa-semi, 'kingfisher', is native to much of Eurasia, including Japan.
Rakusan was very fond of this species, and he used it in several artworks.
Although there are other native kingfishers in Japan, Rakusan chose to depict only this species.