Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||+ Seal A
||+ 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 91 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 91st 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 91 was in February 1933 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment forty-six (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 comprises edition I for this design.
The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.
No documented edition II copies of 91 are currently known.
Edition III printing of 91 can only be dated approximately to between 1948 and 1955.
Copies in Public Collections:
Edition I: Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, USA; (1990) 90.18.10 [not illustrated online].
Barley, Hordeum vulgare
, is a cereal grain grown widely around the world.
In Japanese all kinds of land-grown (thereby excluding rice) grains, such as barley, wheat, rye, etc. are called 麦, mugi
, are the ears or seed heads of any of these.
From the distinctive shape of the seed heads, it is evident that Rakusan was depicting barley rather than one of the other grains.
All Dandelions (genus Taraxacum) are referred to in Japanese as 蒲公英, タンポポ, たんぽぽ, tanpopo; (蒲公英 can also be read ほこうえい, hakouei).
Today tanpopo is often used in particular for Taraxacum platycarpum, and Rakusan's illustration is consistent with that species.
The plants are shown in a complete growth cycle, including leaves, buds, open flowers, and spherical mature seed heads.
Skylark, Alauda arvensis, 雲雀, 告天子, ひばり, ヒバリ, hibari, is a familiar Japanese species. It is one of the few species included in more than one design in this series, occurring in 91 and in 9 (see below).
Here an adult skylark is shown bringing food to a nest containing six baby birds built on the ground in a weedy grainfield.
In its beak the skylark parent bird has brought at least three small, winged insects which are not mentioned in the title-caption.
These are rendered with sufficient detail that it is possible to identify some of them more closely.
Two are crane flies (sometimes also called 'daddy-long-legs') which are represented by the two separate pairs of narrow brown wings with single, dark spots; two green heads, a long thin green body, and long brown legs. The crane fly species intended in 91 is probably Tipula (Yamatotipula) aino, キリウジガガンボ, kiriuji-kaganbo, a common species in Japan. The general name for all kinds of crane fly (family Tipulidae) is 大蚊, ががんぼ, ガガンボ, gaganbo (also read かがんぼ, kaganbo), both lit. 'large mosquito'. The species name makes reference to 蛆, うじ, ウジ, uji, 'larva' which are large and conspicuous in most crane-fly species. In English crane-fly larvae are called 'leatherjackets'.
The other insect is seen only as a single, broader pair of clear, lacy wings which are currently identifiable only as coming from another member of the Diptera.