sugi wakaba ni buppousou (shoka)
New Growth of Red Cedar and Broad-billed Roller (Early Summer)
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 99 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 99th 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 99 was in June 1933 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment fifty (of fifty).
Because this design was in the last installment in the series, its distribution simultaneously closed out the edition.
Therefore only the initial print run of about 200 copies comprises edition I for this design.
The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.
No later edition printings of 99 are currently known.
Very regrettably some of the wooden printing blocks for this design were incorrectly carved.
The original design was very complex and the areas of the bark of the branches were evidently difficult to interpret from the key block printings.
As a result there are many defectively unprinted lacunae within the print.
These are most evident on the brown branch fork immediately below where the bird is sitting, but also occur in and near other branches.
The bird and the new green growth were executed perfectly however.
Rakusan never recarved any of his image blocks; so the design was never corrected.
Japanese Red Cedar (or Peacock Pine), Cryptomeria japonica,
杉, 椙, すぎ, スギ, sugi,
is a native Japanese tree which is widely used for timber and for landscape plantings.
The descriptor 若葉 waka-ba
refers to any sort of 'new leaves, fresh verdure, etc.'
Broad-billed Roller (or Dollarbird), Eurystomus orientalis, 佛法僧 (now usually spelled 仏法僧), ぶっぽうそう, ブッポウソウ, buppousou,
is native to Japan where it typically inhabits conifer forests.
Other designs with red cedar: