桐の実に八十雀 (初春) [sic]
kiri no mi ni hachijuukara (shoshun)
Paulownia Fruit and Nuthatches (Early Spring)
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 90 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 90th 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 90 was in January 1933 (or perhaps slightly later) 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 two hundred copies is believed to comprise edition I for this design.
The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.
No later edition printings of 90 are currently known.
There is a printing flaw in 90. One of the individual flower buds (to the right of the lowermost bird) lacks the final overprinting. It probably results from a mistake in carving one of the wooden blocks. This flaw remains uncorrected on all known copies of 90.
Paulownia (Foxglove Tree, Princess Tree), Paulownia tomentosa
, 桐, きり, キリ, kiri
, is a much-grown, popular ornamental and timber tree in Japan.
It is not a native species and is originally from Southern China, but was introduced into Japan in ancient times.
The showy flowers occur in large panicles. In the spring the unopened buds are small and oval-shaped and occur on neighboring branches to bunches of the larger, pointed, seed capsules from the previous blooming season.
Eurasian Nuthatch, Sitta europaea, is a common Japanese native.
The usual name for this species is 五十雀, ごじゅうから, ゴジュウカラ, gojuu-kara, lit. '50 tit'.
However, in the title-caption Rakusan has written 八十雀, hachijuu-kara, lit. '80 tit', which is apparently a mistake.
Rakusan shows a flock of these small birds gleaning the trunk and branches for small insects.
Other designs including paulownia tree: