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 69 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 69th 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 69 was in March 1932 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment thirty-five (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 69 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 of the incompletely documented copies with seal B were reprinted in edition III between 1948 and 1955 .
Copies in Public Collections:
Edition I: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA; (1952) 52.118 [not illustrated online except as a slightly-cropped greeting card reproduction].
Bamboo Lily, Lilium japonicum
, 笹百合, ささゆり, ササユリ, sasa-yuri
, lit. 'dwarf-bamboo lily', is the native lily species Rakusan shows here. However, Rakusan apparently accidentally uses the name of a different native species in the title-caption, Goldband Lily, Lilium auratum
, 山百合, やまゆり, ヤマユリ, yama-yuri
, lit. 'mountain lily'.
Rakusan was familiar with several kinds of lilies and included more than one species in theme 104, but those are alleither Bamboo Lily or a third native species, Tiger Lily, Lilium lancifolium
There are currently no identifiable examples of Goldband Lily among Rakusan's artworks.
Japanese Bush Warbler (or Japanese Nightingale), Cettia diphone, is a common native bird beloved for its sweet song.
It is frequently depicted in art, and it has many literary and poetic names.
Some of these names have historical origins in Chinese names for Black-naped Oriole, Oriolus chinensis.
The connection is that in China the archetypal sweet singing bird is the oriole, but that species is not found in Japan except as a rare wanderer.
In Japan the cultural role of the archetypal best singer is played instead by the bush warbler.
Therefore over many centuries the names have interpenetrated.
As he had done earlier on design 4, Rakusan here wrote wrote 鴬 uguisu.
Today, written in kana, うぐいす, ウグイス, uguisu, represents an ornithological specialization and refers only to the bush warbler. Written in kanji, 鴬 or 鶯 uguisu remains a very common general name not only for this species, but also for several other sweet singing birds.
However, the original Chinese character underlying these kanji means 'oriole', but it is read in the Japanese manner as uguisu 'bush warbler'.
The modern Japanese name for the Black-naped Oriole comes full circle in incorporating the re-generalized bush warbler name.
Today, 高麗鶯, こうらいうぐいす, コウライウグイス, kourai uguisu, is lit. "Korean bush warbler'. Rakusan depicted the oriole in design number 18 in this series.
In 69 the bush warbler and its nestlings are shown at its 巣 su 'nest'.