Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||+ Seal A
[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.]
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 42 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 42nd 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'.
Rakusan announced the upcoming publication of 42 in the delivery documents for installment twenty which was distributed December 28, 1930. 42alt, a woodblock print of an alternate sketch of the same design subject, was included in installment twenty as a preview advertisement. Printing and publication of the first print run of approximately two hundred copies of 42 was in January 1931 in installment twenty-one (of fifty). (The exact printing and publication days are unknown since no copies of the installment twenty-one delivery documents have yet been located.) It is unclear if an additional edition I printing of 42 was made before mid 1933 when the series was completed and all edition I printings ceased. The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.
No later edition printings of 42 are currently documented. Edition I copies of 42 with city-name stamps show that edition I copies were still available for sale after World War II. Because Rakusan did not typically reprint until more copies were needed, 42 would not have been reprinted in the pre-war edition II period. It remains possible that an as yet undocumented edition III reprinting of 42 could have been made.
There is a printing flaw in 42 in the lower left portion of the composition.
The privet leaves are all underprinted in yellow and were all supposed to be overprinted in green.
A bent-leaf shape immediately below the main branch remained the underprinted yellow, presumably because the required area on the green block was accidentally carved away. This flaw remains uncorrected on all known copies.
Copies in Public Collections:
Edition I: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; (1951) 51.2482 [not illustrated online].
Evergreen Privet, Ligustrum japonicum
, is today usually called 鼠の小枕, , ねずみのこまくら, ネズミノコマクラ, nezumi no ko-makura
, lit. 'rat's little pillow'.
Instead Rakusan wrote 鼠のまくら, nezumi no makura
, lit. 'rat's pillow', a variation which omitted the diminutive adjective.
Included in the composition at the bottom, but not mentioned in the title-caption, is a spray of Japanese Red Cedar (or Peacock Pine), Cryptomeria japonica, 杉, sugi,
which is a native Japanese tree widely used for timber and for landscape plantings.
Narcissus Flycatcher, Ficedula narcissina, 黄鶲, きびたき, キビタキ, ki-bitaki, lit. 'yellow-flycatcher', is a Japanese native species.
The birds are shown as a mated pair, the drab female and the brightly colored male.