Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||[no kanji signature]
||+ Seal C
|| + Rakusan Tsuchiya [cursive romaji signature]
[For illustration of seals, see the Seals article.]
This woodblock print WC1935 was modeled on an original painting on paper about two or three times larger whose current location is unknown.
It was known to have been distributed for the winter holidays of 1935, which makes it the earliest securely dated winter card (hence the designation WC1935), but it could have been first published earlier. The dating for most of the winter card series remains conjectural, and the assigned numbers are subject to change with new information.
Many of the winter cards (possibly including WC1935) were commissioned by Mr. Masao Morikawa, the Secretary to the President of Doshisha University in Kyoto, who became both a long-time friend and an important and influential Rakusan patron.
The dated copy of WC1935 is preserved in the collection of the Doshisha Archives Center, and it is remarkable in having a secondarily added personal inscription on the print itself and also inside the card stock:
Just inside the margin at the top of the print Morikawa hand-wrote in cursive:
Xmas Greetings from the Morikawas.
Hand-written with capital block letters in a vertical column in the left margin of the print is:
GOLDEN PAVILION KYOTO
Inside is a message handwritten in red ink cursive:
With happy thoughts and hearty greetings at Christmas 1935
[The cursive romaji signatures of Morikawa and his wife are each in their own handwriting, and one of them added the block-printed name of their small son.]
WC1935 was reprinted and sold or given away in large numbers after World War II. Although there are other known early copies, no others have the addenda described from the Doshisha copy. WC1935 is currently known from only a single edition with only slight color variation among the individual copies.
However, the Doshisha copy is much faded, and there has been chemical alteration around the edges of the areas of white ink in the design causing many of them to show a yellowish halo.
In WC1935 the Kinkakuji is viewed facing north-east from the garden entrance toward the front quarter of the building. The sky is overcast gray and the trees and roofs are covered with fresh snow. The snow-covered mound in the background is a much simplified Mount Daimonji, 大文字山, daimonji-yama
. The mirror pond is not frozen solid as in LK3-1 and LK3-2, but it is not as reflective as in LK1-10 and LK2-9.
The composition of WC1935 is unusual in having no Rakusan kanji signature and in having a miniaturized version of seal C.
However, a woodblock-printed cursive romaji signature is incorporated within the design.
Copies in Public Collections:
Edition I: Doshisha Archives Center, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan. [This copy was included in an exhibition of Kyoto scenes presented in the Harris Science Hall Doshisha Gallery on the main Imadegawa campus of Doshisha University in 2014, and it is still illustrated online in the publicity materials from that exhibition.]
The Golden Pavilion, 金閣, kinkaku
, is one of the most famous buildings in Japan.
It is part of a Zen Buddhist temple complex in northwestern Kyoto which is properly called Rokuon-ji, 鹿苑寺, rokuon-ji
, 'deer garden temple'.
However, the building and complex are most commonly referred to as the Kinkakuji (or Kinkaku-ji), 金閣寺, kinkaku-ji
, 'gold(en) pavilion temple'.
The pavilion extends over a reflecting pond, 鏡湖池, kyouko-chi
, 'mirror pond' which includes ten small islands - some planted with small trees.
Rakusan was very fond of the Kinkakuji and no less than twelve different depictions of it have survived among his artworks. He often described the location of his home and studio as being nearby the Kinkakuji since both were in the same section of the city. His intent was to encourage visitors to that famous tourist attraction to make a stop at his studio on the same trip. The Kinkakuji in WC1935 is the original structure built in 1397 which was destroyed by an arson fire in 1950. The current replica structure replaced it in 1955.