Signature and Seal Markings:
|Edition I (only edition):
||+ Seal A
The signature 篁子生, Kou-shi-sei forms the basis of the titles for both series in the 篁子生画選, Koushisei Gasen, Project. However on woodblock prints it is an uncommon signature variation used with only a few designs. Rakusan soon elaborated this signature to 楽山篁子生, Raku-zan Kou-shi-sei, which is found on most later woodblock prints.
[For illustration of seals listed by seal code letter, see the Seals article.]
Series History and Definitions:
During the two years between mid 1933 and mid 1935 Rakusan produced a series of 180 individual woodblock-printed fan designs.
These fan designs are printed as negative images with a single impression of black ink.
Although all are actually woodblock prints, this traditional negative-image printing style is called 石摺(り), ishi-zuri
, lit. 'stone rubbing', from its superficial resemblance to that technique.
Rakusan called this series
篁子生石摺画選, Koushisei Ishizuri Gasen
, lit. 'Koushisei's Stone-rubbing Print Selection', but it is usually called here the Fan Series
Rakusan arranged the Fan Series prints into shared-subject groups typically consisting of one design in each of five different fan silhouette shapes.
Each of these groups of Fan Series designs are united by a corresponding polychrome 36 Series design which defines the subject.
Each shared-subject Fan Series group and its 36 Series design together comprise a theme (画題, gadai).
Rakusan did not include the Fan Series in his main sequence numbering.
Therefore, the original number used for each of the 36 Series prints has been modified to identify the
Fan Series members of its theme.
The five different fan silhouette shapes have been here assigned arbitrary numbers 1 through 5.
To indicate a fan design these shape designations are added to the 36 Series number separated by a hyphen. In themes which contain duplicated fan shapes, one has been arbitrarily designated A and the other B.
106-3 indicates that this is a Fan Series design with fan shape 3 in the 106 Quince theme. Like all other designs in this series, 106-3 was only produced in a single print run, and few copies are currently documented.
Rakusan began creating the Fan Series
with a mixed set of designs whose signatures and seals suggest they were carved during the last half of 1933. Aside from a scattering of designs eventually used for later themes, the majority of these early designs were assembled into the first six themes of the series, including the 106 Quince
theme. The 36 Series
designs for all six were also completed and carved within that same short period.
The 106 Quince
theme is one of the many entirely regular themes represented by a complete fan quintet and a color woodblock print.
At least some of the quince designs in this theme were adapted from sketches originally created in the late 1920s during the planning of design 8 in the earlier 100 Series (see below).
The Fan Series woodblock prints of the 106 Quince theme were distributed in early 1934 in installment two (of twelve).
The delivery documents for installment two remain to be discovered, but its delivery month was either February, March, or April 1934, and the woodblock prints would have been printed during the same month as the publication.
The composition of 106-3 shows an entire, small quince bush trained as a bonsai. The technique is a combination of simple line drawings for the flower, buds, and thorny stems; with additional shading on the leaves and main trunk. The ground surface is suggested by groups of dots. Other similar dots halo some of the trunk and stems. Surrounding the quince are seven tiny pine seedlings rendered as minimal line drawings.
The woodblock print of 106-3 was modeled closely on an actual-size original sumi sketch which although lost can be reconstructed by digitally reversing the image of the woodblock print:
106-3 as originally drawn (reconstruction)
The three species of flowering quince are collectively known in Japanese as 木瓜, ぼけ, ボケ, boke
, and in English informally as "Japanese Quince".
Today the Japanese name is also used particularly for one of the most common garden varieties, Chaenomeles speciosa
var. cf. lagenaria
, a selection of an originally Chinese and Korean species early imported into Japan.
There is also a shorter-growing native species, Chaenomeles japonica
These quinces have been bred into many forms for flower and fruit production and are often used in bonsai.
Many varieties of quince have long, prominent thorns.
The general name for all kinds of pine trees, Pine, Pinus, spp. is 松, まつ, マツ, matsu.
It is impossible to identify the exact species of pine that Rakusan intended to show in this design since the plants are all small seedlings.