朝顔にみやま頰白 (盛夏)

asagao ni miyamahoujiro (seika)

Morning Glory and Yellow-throated Bunting (Mid Summer)

アサガオにミヤマホオジロ (盛夏)


Original Number

27


ADDITIONAL NOTES FOR THIS DESIGN
Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
Edition I: 楽山居 Raku-zan Kyo + Seal A
Edition II: 楽山篁子生 Raku-zan Kou-shi-sei + Seal B

[For illustration of seals listed by seal code letter, see the Seals article. For edition characteristics applicable to this series as a whole, see the Edition article.]

Design History:
This woodblock print was produced from an original painting on silk dating from the late 1920s whose current location is unknown. The indentification of this design as number 27 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 27th design in his series of one hundred woodblock prints called 楽山花鳥畫譜, Rakuzan Kachou Gafu, lit. 'Rakusan's Flower and Bird Print Series'.

Edition I: The first print run of about two hundred copies of 27 was completed and the design was published in June 1930 in installment fourteen (of fifty). (The exact printing and publication days are unknown since no copies of the installment fourteen delivery documents have yet been located.) Apparently, Rakusan encountered early technical difficulties with his first print run copies of 27. The gold glitter, which was scattered over the still-wet background ink, initiated a chemical reaction on many of the prints. When this reaction is complete, each speck of glitter becomes surrounded by a brownish halo and the glitter itself is dulled. Apparently, this problem emerged quickly and affects most but not all edition I copies of 27. Presumably because of Rakusan's unhappiness with this development, it is believed that unlike many early designs 27 may not have been reprinted again in edition I. If so, then the original print run of about two hundred copies comprises the entire edition I output of 27. Nevertheless, nearly half of all documented copies of 27 come from edition I, including the different examples at top and at bottom left.

27alt, a woodblock print of an alternate sketch of the same design subject was issued the month before the initial printing of 27 as a preview advertisement (see Related Designs below).

Edition II: In spite of the potential chemical damage, 27 proved to be a popular design, and the supply of edition I copies soon ran out. As a result, 27 was among the first three designs reprinted in edition II, and an edition II copy of 27 was sold in September 1935. However, in order to avoid the earlier problem Rakusan typically omitted the glitter entirely on edition II copies. Between 1935 and 1941 27 was reprinted in edition II in numbers at least equivalent to those printed in edition I. More than half of all documented copies of 27 come from edition II reprintings, including the example at below right. Copies with city-name stamps show that edition II supplies of 27 were still available for distribution after the war. It is possible that postwar reprinting of 27 never became necessary, and to date no edition III copies have been documented.

The particular tan background colors on copies of 27 and many other Rakusan designs are very difficult to photograph with any degree of color fidelity, especially under different lighting conditions. The background colors on all three examples of 27 illustrated here are actually more similar in person than these images suggest.

27 (edition I) 27 (edition II)

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 color and flower-form. Rakusan used several different varieties in his designs. Here the bamboo stake support indicates that the morning glory is growing in a garden setting rather than completely in the wild.

Yellow-throated Bunting, Emberiza elegans, 深山頰白, みやまほおじろ, ミヤマホオジロ, miyama-houjiro, lit. 'deep-mountain bunting', is a usually shy native Japanese songbird. In 27 Rakusan shows the more colorful male bird.


Related Designs:
27alt

Other designs with morning glory:
107-1 107-2 107-3 107-4 107-5 107