[modernly supplied title]


asagao ni hachi

Morning Glory and Wasp


Original Number / 原番号


Theme Identification / 画題識別

107 Morning Glory Theme

Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
Edition I: 楽山篁子生 Raku-zan Kou-shi-sei + Seal B [the first occurrence of seal B in edition I of the main sequence]

[For illustration of seals listed by seal code letter, see the Seals article. For edition and dating characteristics applicable to the entire series, see the Editions article.]

Print History:
Indentification of this design as number 107 is original to Rakusan who designated this woodblock print as the 107th design published in his main sequence. However, 107 is actually the seventh of thirty-six woodblock prints in Rakusan's second main sequence series, 篁子生画選, Koushisei Gasen, lit. 'Koushisei's Print Selection' (usually called here the 36 Series).

The woodblock print of 107 was adapted from an actual-size original painting on silk. All of the original prototype paintings for this series are currently in a single private collection.
[Images of this painting 107-0 will eventually be posted here.]

Like most 36 Series designs 107 has the same signature and seal combination on every copy. Therefore, for 107 only a single extended edition I (which includes reprintings both before and after World War II) can be distinguished. It is usually only possible to date an individual loose print of 107 with edition I markings by listing approximate potential ranges of 1934-1941 and 1948-1955. The copy illustrated above is typical of edition I.

The earliest 36 Series prints were delivered tipped into recessed wells of presentation sheets embossed in their lower margins with the series title. Because all early edition I prints once had these presentation sheets, a copy which retains its presentation sheet must have been printed during the 1930s. After his supply of presentation sheets was exhausted, Rakusan distributed subsequently-reprinted copies loose. A limited number of leftover earlier-printed copies of some designs on presentation sheets were still being distributed shortly after World War II, but by then most designs were only available as loose sheets. However, absence of presentation sheets is not diagnostic of later printings because many early prints have subsequently been detached from theirs.

Copies in Public Collections:
Edition I: Harvard Art Museums (Arthur M. Sackler Museum), Cambridge, MA, USA; (1941.56) [illustrated online].

Edition I: Museum of FIne Arts, Boston, MA, USA; (46.410) [not illustrated online].

Theme History:
The Rakusan project which produced 篁子生画選, Koushisei Gasen, resulted in two related series of woodblock prints. Each print of the 36 Series is intimately connected to a group of prints with the same subjects in the Fan Series. Together these subject-related prints in the two series constitute a theme. Each theme typically consists of a quintet of monochrome Fan Series designs (one design in each of the five fan shapes), plus one polychrome, 36 Series design which illustrates the theme subject. The theme is labeled here by the original Rakusan number of its 36 Series design followed by the subject. 107 is the 36 Series design of the 107 Morning Glory theme.

The 107 Morning Glory theme is one of the many entirely regular themes represented by a complete fan quintet and a color woodblock print. Four of the five Fan Series designs have seal C which indicates carving dates between the last months of 1933 and the end of the first quarter of 1934. However, the remaining fan design and the 36 Series design 107 have seal B which indicates a later carving period closer to the time of publication. Rakusan arranged the 107 Morning Glory theme in an installment with two other summer subject themes (108 and 109). The Fan Series and 36 Series prints of the 107 Morning Glory theme were distributed in early 1934 in installment three (of twelve). The delivery documents for installment three remain to be discovered, but its delivery month was either March, April, or (most likely) May 1934. The individual woodblock prints would have been printed earlier in the same month as their distribution.

At least some of the morning glory designs in this theme were probably adapted from sketches originally created in the late 1920s during the planning of design 27 of the earlier 100 Series.

Species Illustrated:
Japanese Morning Glory, Ipomoea (Parbitis) nil, 朝顔, あさがお, アサガオ, asagao, is originally not native to Japan. However, it was imported from China about 1,200 years ago, and it is now important in Japanese culture. Today, the species is pan-tropical, easily naturalizes, and its ultimate origins are difficult to sort out. In Japan morning glories have been extensively hybridized and selected to modify their colors and flower-forms. Rakusan used several different varieties in his designs. Here the bamboo stake support indicates that the morning glory is growing in a garden setting.

Wasps hornets, and bees share the same general name in Japanese, 蜂, はち, ハチ, hachi. [Rakusan insects in color are usually identifiable at least to the genus level. Identification of this wasp is in process.]

Related Designs:
Other designs in the 107 Morning Glory theme:
107-1 107-2 107-3 107-4 107-5

Other designs with morning glories:
27alt 27

Other designs with wasps:
104-3 110-4 112