Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||+ Seal A
The signature here is only one of two in the series which is printed in gold ink instead of the usual black ink.
[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 96 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 96th 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 96 was in April 1933 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment forty-eight (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 is believed to comprise edition I for 96.
The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.
No later edition printings of 96 are currently known.
Designs 95 and 96 form a diptych pair.
However unlike typical practice the pairing of these designs is meant to include the widths of the intervening side margins.
That is, the margins were not meant to be trimmed away and the images immediately juxtaposed.
In addition to the unusual pairing of designs, the markings in the diptych designs are atypical.
There is no signature on 95, the seal is in gold ink instead of red, and it is the only use of seal H in this series.
On 96 the signature is in gold ink.
This pair of designs are among only three designs in this series which do not include a named botanical element.
Copies in Public Collections:
Edition I: Harvard Art Museums (Arthur M. Sackler Museum), Cambridge, MA, USA; (1943.11) [illustrated online].
In Japan all peafowl are called 孔雀, くじゃく, クジャク, kujaku
, regardless of species.
Although no peafowl species is native to Japan, two species were long ago imported as exotics and have naturalized in parks and gardens.
The species depicted in both 95 and 96 is the Green Peafowl, Pavo muticus
, which is usually today distinguished as 真孔雀, まくじゃく, マクジャク, ma-kujaku,
lit. 'true peafowl', indicating the most commonly encountered species.
In the title-caption for 96 Rakusan used a different and now unusual name 呂宋孔雀, ruzon kujaku
, lit. 'Luzon peafowl', from the supposed source of the original importation of the birds.
Oddly, Rakusan spelled the name differently in 95 where a less common variant spelling, 呂宗, ruzon
, was used for 'Luzon'.
Rakusan was attempting to show all of the birds in this series life size; so these large birds appear in compact poses and the entire adult birds cannot be shown in a single print.
Therefore, the tail of the male bird in 95 extends behind the birds in 96.