實桃にいそひよどり (盛夏) [sic]
mi momo ni isohiyodori (seika)
Peach Fruit and (African) Blue-flycatcher (Mid Summer)
ADDITIONAL NOTES FOR THIS DESIGN
Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||+ Seal A
[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 73 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 73rd 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 73 was in May 1932 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment thirty-seven (of fifty).
Because this design appeared late in the series, 73 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.
No later edition printings of 73 are currently known.
Peach, Prunus persica
var., 桃 tou, momo
'peach' is an early imported species grown both for fruit and flowers.
The general type here is the white peach.
實 (now usually written 実), mi
means 'fruit', but the phrasing Rakusan used in the title-caption would not be used today.
The identification of the bird shown in 73 is problematic. It appears to be an amalgamation of two closely related species of African blue-flycatchers. Rakusan would have seen these exotic birds only as cage or aviary specimens. He appears to have taken some artistic license in depicting this bird.
The deeper blue and mostly unmarked tail suggest Elminia longicauda, and the prominent white neck suggests Elminia albicauda. Both species have been assigned names in modern Japanese based on close translations of the English or scientific names. For African Blue-flycatcher, Elminia longicauda we now have ソライロヒタキ, sora-iro hitaki, 'sky-color flycatcher'; or ミヅイロオナガヒタキ, mizu-iro o-naga hitaki, 'aqua (colored) long-tailed flycatcher'; and for White-tailed Blue-flycatcher, Elminia albicauda: オジロソライロヒタキ, o-jiro sora-iro hitaki, ' white-tailed sky-blue flycatcher'; オジロオナガヒタキ, o-jiro o-naga-hitaki, 'white-tailed long-tail-flycatcher'.
Oddly, Rakusan incorrectly identified this bird in the title-caption as いそひよどり, (イソヒヨドリ, 磯鵯) iso-hiyodori, '(rocky-)beach-bulbul', which has long been the common name for the Blue Rockthrush, Monticola solitarius.
However, later in the series he illustrates and correctly names the Blue Rock Thrush in design number 97.