GOLDEN PAVILION KYOTO (1935 version without inscriptions)

Temporary Number


Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
Edition I [no kanji signature] + Seal C + Rakusan Tsuchiya [cursive romaji signature]

[For illustration of seals, see the Seals article.]

Design History:
This woodblock print WC1 was modeled on an original painting on paper about two or three times larger whose current location is unknown. It was created and first distributed for the winter holidays of 1935, which makes it the earliest documented winter card - hence the designation WC1. However, the dates and even the order of publication for three of the seven winter card designs have yet to be discovered. Therefore it remains possible that with new information the sequence numbering could be revised.

The winter cards (including WC1) were apparently all commissioned by Mr. Masao Morikawa, the Secretary to the President of Doshisha University in Kyoto, who was both a long-time friend and an important and influential Rakusan patron. The earliest documented copy of WC1 preserved in the collection of the Doshisha Archives Center is remarkable in having a personal inscription on the print 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.
Written vertically in the left margin in block-printing is:

Inside is a message handwritten in red ink cursive:
With happy thoughts and hearty greetings at Christmas 1935
Masao Morikawa
Sachi Morikawa

[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.]

WC1 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. WC1 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.

Design Description:
In WC1 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 WC1 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.]

Location Illustrated:
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 WC1 is the original structure built in 1397 which was destroyed by an arson fire in 1950. The current replica structure replaced it in 1955.

Related Designs:

Other designs of the Kinkaku-ji: [The paintings sections are currently under construction. Subpages for items marked with [*] not yet available.]
*LK1-10 (painting) *LK2-9 (painting) SP2-0 (painting) SP2-a (print) SP2-b (print)
*LK3-1 (painting) *LK3-2 (painting) *Map1 (painting)
*LCK-1 (painting) *LCK-2 (painting) *LCK-3 (painting)