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 77 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 77th 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 77 was in July 1932 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment thirty-nine (of fifty).
Because this design appeared late in the series, 77 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 77 are currently known.
About the time 77 was being prepared, Rakusan apparently had trouble communicating his designs to whomever was to carve the blocks.
Several designs from this period show significant areas which were either not inked, or inked in the incorrect colors.
In the top half of 77 there are at least a half dozen such areas.
Rose of Sharon (Shrub Althea), Hibiscus syriacus
, 槿, 木槿, 木蓮, むくげ, ムクゲ, mukuge
, 'rose of sharon' is an originally exotic ornamental small tree or shrub commonly grown in many countries.
The descriptor (の)花 (no) hana
means '(in) flower; flower(s)'.
It appears that Rakusan thought that the birds in 77 were a mated pair since he mentions only one species name in the title-caption.
However, there are actually two species of exotic laughingthrushes illustrated in the design.
Typically, male and female laughingthrushes of the same species look alike; so the sexes of each bird are impossible to determine.
Rakusan would have encountered these birds in life only as cage or aviary specimens.
The bird on the left is the species named in the title-caption, White-crested Laughingthrush, Garrulax leucolophus,
白翁鳥, ハクオウチョウ haku-ou-chou, lit. 'white(-headed) oldman bird'.
The bird on the right is a different species (and not named in the title-caption), White-throated Laughingthrush, Garrulax albogularis,
喉白画眉鳥, ノドジロガビチョウ nodo-jiro gabi-chou, lit. 'white-throat eyebrow-bird'.
In modern ornithological usage 画眉鳥, ガビチョウ, gabi-chou, is a general name for laughingthrush (genus Garrulax).
More usually 画眉鳥 means Meadow Bunting, Emberiza cioides, and is read ホオジロ hoojiro.