Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||+ Seal A
||San Setsu An Raku-zan
||+ 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 89 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 89th 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 89 was in January 1933 (or perhaps slightly later), and it was delivered in installment forty-five (of fifty).
Because this design was among the last in the series, it was unlikely to have been reprinted immediately.
Therefore only the initial print run of about 200 copies comprises edition I for 89.
The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.
No edition II reprintings of 89 are currently known. Edition III reprinting of 89 can only be dated approximately to between 1948 and 1955.
Japanese Plum-Apricot (usually called Plum), Prunus mume
, 梅, うめ, ウメ, ume
, is a Japanese native flowering fruit tree.
It has been extensively hybridized and selected, and there are many forms and colors.
As one of the earliest blooming trees, it is a beloved cultural symbol of the turning of the seasons when it blooms in the winter and early spring.
Although most wild trees have white flowers, a few have varying amounts of red pigment in the wood, shoots, and flowers; and this trait has been encouraged in breeding.
These pigmented forms are collectively called by a different name, Red Plum, 紅梅, こうばい, コウバイ, kou-bai
, lit. 'red plum', but are actually the same species.
(The descriptor 紅 may be read either as beni
or as kou
, and can mean a wide range of colors from crimson-red through rose to pale pink, depending on the context.
Although conventionally translated into English as Red
Plum, many familiar 紅梅 flowers are actually pink.)
In the title-caption to 89 Rakusan described this variety as 八重紅梅 , yae-koubai
lit. 'double-flowered red plum', but the exact cultivar is indeterminate.
Many of the Rakusan plum designs are in black and white, and without additional information it is impossible to determine whether or not most of them are red plum or the original white variety.
In the related designs listed below only those definitely identifiable as red plum are included, but doubtless several more belong there as well.
[The full array of Rakusan woodblock print plum designs can be found at this link to the subpage for design 4 in this series, where there are additional links to all of the other plum design subpages.]
Japanese Robin, Erithacus akahige, 駒鳥, こまどり, コマドリ, koma-dori, is a familiar Japanese species.
The bird shown is apparently a male who is singing to define his territory.