Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||+ Seal F
||+ Seal F
|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 9 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 9th 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'.
Edition I first printing details for 9 are known precisely because copies of the delivery documents for installments four and five have survived.
9 was first announced as upcoming in the documents for installment four sent out on August 21, 1929.
The first printing run of about 200 copies was completed September 20, 1929, and the publication date was September 21, 1929 in installment five (of fifty).
However, additional edition I printings of 9 may have continued until 1933.
The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.
Edition II copies of 9 with seal F date approximately from between 1936 and 1941.
Unfortunately, the few currently documented later edition examples of 9 with seal B 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.
Potential edition II reprintings of 9 with seal B can only be dated approximately from between 1936 and 1940, and potential edition III reprintings with seal B between 1948 and 1955.
Edition II copies with seal F also lack the superimposed horizontal glue bands used to adhere gold metallic glitter onto the tan background of the original edition I design.
Japanese Red Pine, Pinus densiflora
, 赤松, あかまつ, アカマツ, aka-matsu
, is a Japanese native conifer.
The name can also be read me-matsu
Rakusan included pine in several other designs, but in none of those is this particular species clearly identifiable (see links below).
Japanese (or Lesser) Sparrowhawk, Accipiter gularis, 雀鷂, 雀鷹, つみ, ツミ, tsumi, is one of two species of sparrowhawk native to Japan.
(The other is Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus, now usually called ハイタカ, hai-taka, etc.)
Both species show marked sexual dimorphism, and because they are of different sizes, the males and females each take a somewhat different assortment of prey.
Since both species were historically popular in falconry, the males and females of each species have different Japanese names.
This multiplicity of names can lead to some popular confusion as to species, especially since falconry is no longer widely known or practiced.
Rakusan created two different sparrowhawk designs; but instead of illustrating each of the two species, he instead chose each of the two sexes of the Japanese Sparrowhawk.
9 shows the larger but less colorful female, and 28 shows the smaller brighter male of the same species. (See link below.)
Skylark, Alauda arvensis, 雲雀, ひばり, ヒバリ, hibari, is a widespread species of which there is only a single native variety found in Japan.
Rakusan used the skylark in two different designs in this series, here in 9 as prey, and in number 91 in life (see link below).
In the title-caption for 9 Rakusan used a variant name which is potentially confusing.
Today 山雲雀, やまひばり, ヤマヒバリ, yama-hibari, lit. 'mountain-skylark', is the ornithological name for a different species of bird unrelated to the larks,
Siberian Accentor, Prunella montanella.
However, in popular usage it can also mean 'a skylark found in the mountains' which is what Rakusan apparently originally intended.