Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||+ Seal A
|Edition II(?) or III(?):
||+ 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 80 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 80th 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 80 was in August 1932 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment forty (of fifty).
However, additional edition I printings may have continued until mid 1933.
The copy illustrated is typical of edition I.
80 was printed in at least one later edition. Unfortunately, the few currently documented examples lack the edition-diagnostic watermark evidence.
The scarcity of examples suggests these represent the much smaller edition III printing, but edition II cannot at this point be ruled out.
For 80, potential edition II printings can only be dated approximately from between 1936 and 1940, and potential edition III printings between 1948 and 1955.
The later edition copies replace the original rich tan background with a lighter beige color.
80 is one of the very few Rakusan designs for which any printing details exist.
The Foster booklet reports that 80 required 220 printing impressions to complete.
Other Foster Information: 80 is among the most familiar Rakusan designs because of Walter Foster.
In addition to marketing original Rakusan woodblock prints of 80 from Japan, Foster also sold two grades of reproductions which he had machine-printed in the USA.
Both reproduction versions were created from the same original model, a later edition copy of 80 in Foster's personal collection.
One version is a fine art reproduction produced for individual sale, and the other appears as page 14 of the Foster booklet.
The fine art reproduction was produced to very high standards of photolithography on good quality, heavy matte paper; and the inks were carefully color-matched to those of the original woodblock print.
Because of this attention to detail, it was relatively expensive, few copies were sold, and they are seldom encountered today.
Instead, what are mostly offered for sale as reproductions of 80 are actually copies of page 14 cut from the Foster booklet.
Regrettably, the booklet was inexpensively and inexactly machine-printed on semi-gloss paper, and its illustration colors are not true to the original.
Both reproduction versions are of similar size (listed as 9" x 12"); therefore they are significantly smaller than the original woodblock print (listed as 13" x 18").
(Both reproductions actually maintain the unique proportions of the original woodblock print; so the advertised dimensions are only rough approximations.)
Initially, Foster sold original woodblock prints of 80 for $25, fine art reproductions for $3, and the entire booklet (with 27 different designs) for $1.
Because the Foster booklet was printed in great numbers and remains widely available today, it is usually less expensive to buy the entire booklet than a single page reproduction.
Because Foster could not read Rakusan's Japanese title-captions, he made up ones of his own to use in the booklet. Here he called 80 "Paulownia and Doves".
[For additional general information on Foster, the booklet, or the fine art reproductions, see the Foster article.]
Paulownia (Empress/Princess Tree, Foxglove Tree), Paulownia tomentosa (P. imperialis)
, 桐, きり, キリ, kiri
, 'paulownia', is a common ornamental tree planted in many parts of Japan and in the West.
Rakusan uses 花桐, hana-giri
, lit. 'flowering paulownia, paulownia flower' which is a descriptive and not a species designation.
(Oriental) Rufous Turtledove, Streptopelia orientalis, 雉(子)鳩, きじばと, キジバト, kiji-bato, lit. 'pheasant-dove', is a common dove native to Japan and nearby areas.
It is also often kept as a pet and has been introduced in many parts of the world.