waka ashi ni aosagi (banshun)
Young Reeds and Gray Heron (Late Spring)
ADDITIONAL NOTES FOR THIS DESIGN
Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||+ Seal A
||+ Seal F
[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 70 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 70th 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 70 was in March 1932 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment thirty-five (of fifty).
Because this design appeared late in the series, 70 may not have been reprinted before the series completion in 1933, and only the initial print run of about 200 copies comprises edition I.
The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.
Edition II printings of 70 can only be approximately dated between 1936 and 1941.
No edition III printings of 70 are currently known.
Copies in Public Collections:
Edition II: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA; (1951) 51.1737 [not illustrated online except as a slightly-cropped greeting card reproduction].
Common Reed , Phragmites australis
, 蘆, 芦, 葦, 葭, あし, アシ, ashi
, 'reed' is a native waterplant found in Japan and much of temperate South and East Asia.
The Japanese name is also a general one for 'reed' and refers to any similar species.
The descriptor 若, waka
, 'young' in botanical usage refers to 'new growth, new leaves, etc.'
Gray Heron, Ardea cinerea, 青鷺, あおさぎ, アオサギ, ao-sagi, lit. 'blue heron', is an instantly recognizable common native species.
Rakusan chose to illustrate the birds in this series as close as possible to life size.
Therefore, he had to capture the large heron walking in deep water in a hunting pose in order to fit it within the available image area.