南天
Nandina
ナンテン


Temporary Number

"WC7"


ADDITIONAL NOTES FOR THIS DESIGN
Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
Edition I: 楽山 Raku-zan + Seal B2

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

Design History:
This design is arbitrarily labeled "WC7", but it appears to have been the last of the seven winter card designs. The woodblock print of "WC7" was modeled on an original painting on paper about two or three times larger whose current location is unknown. The order of publication for three of the winter cards (including "WC7") remains conjectural. However, use of seal B2 and the lack of other writing suggest that this design was created to be sent out for one of the winter holidays during the period 1938-1941 – most probably for 1938.

As in the immediately preceding years up through 1937, "WC7" would have been commissioned as a winter card by Mr. Masao Morikawa, the Secretary to the President of Doshisha University in Kyoto. Morikawa was both a long-time friend and an important and influential patron of Rakusan. By 1938 private contacts and communications with Westerners and outside Japan were viewed with suspicion, and there is as yet no evidence that "WC7" was sent at the time it was designed.

"WC7" is known from only a single edition with little or no individual variation among copies. The ink used to print the tan background contains a yellow pigment which is very prone to sun-fading. The copy illustrated here had been partially exposed to too much light, and a vertical strip about 0.3 cm wide along the right margin has faden from tan to pink.

"WC7" is unusual in that it is the only kacho winter card design, and the only one with no architectural elements. The design elements resemble those of a contemporary Rakusan painting series (not yet illustrated), and the treatment of the snow recalls several of the Fan Series designs. Because its kacho design is very decorative, "WC7" was reprinted and sold or given away in large numbers after World War II. (It is also used here in the upper right corner of the index page for this website.)

Species Illustrated:
Nandina, Nandina domestica, 南天, なんてん, ナンテン, nanten, has many varieties and garden cultivars. Its former common names, "Sacred Bamboo" and "Heavenly Bamboo", are today seldom used since the plant is actually neither a kind of bamboo nor is it at all closely related to it. Nandina is often used in Japan as a symbol of winter.


Related Designs:

Other designs with nandina: [Rakusan also used the nandina motif in several paintings not yet illustrated.]
1 119-1 119-3 119-4 119-5 119