山百合に巣鴬 (初夏) [sic]

yamayuri ni su uguisu (shoka)

Bamboo Lily and Bush Warbler Nest (Early Summer)

ササユリに巣ウグイス (初夏)


Original Number

69


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
Edition III: 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 69 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 69th 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'. Initial edition I publication of 69 was in March 1932 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment thirty-five (of fifty). However, additional edition I printings may have continued until as late as 1933. The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.

Edition II printings of 69 can only be dated approximately from between 1936 and 1940, and edition III between 1948 and 1955. Copies from the first two editions are typically similarly colored. In edition III the background color is paler and more watery looking with a dark bokashi shading at the bottom.

Copies in Public Collections:
Edition I: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA; (1952) 52.118 [not illustrated online except as a slightly-cropped greeting card reproduction].

Species Illustrated:
Bamboo Lily, Lilium japonicum, 笹百合, ささゆり, ササユリ, sasa-yuri, lit. 'dwarf-bamboo lily', is the native lily species Rakusan shows here. However, the name Rakusan used in the title-caption is that of a different native species, Goldband Lily, Lilium auratum, 山百合, やまゆり, ヤマユリ, yama-yuri, lit. 'mountain lily'. However, since 'mountain' is also used to infer 'wild' as opposed to 'cultivated', it is possible that 'wild lily' is what Rakusan intended and the misidentification was accidental. Rakusan was familiar with several kinds of lilies and included more than one species in theme 104, but those are all either Bamboo Lily or a third native species, Tiger Lily, Lilium lancifolium. There are currently no identifiable examples of Goldband Lily among Rakusan's artworks.

Japanese Bush Warbler (or Japanese Nightingale), Cettia diphone, is a common native bird beloved for its sweet song. It is frequently depicted in art, and it has many literary and poetic names. Some of these names have historical origins in Chinese names for Black-naped Oriole, Oriolus chinensis. The connection is that in China the archetypal sweet singing bird is the oriole, but that species is not found in Japan except as a rare wanderer. In Japan the cultural role of the archetypal best singer is played instead by the bush warbler. Therefore over many centuries the various names for the two species have interpenetrated.

As he had done earlier on design 4, Rakusan here wrote wrote 鴬, uguisu. Today, written in kana, うぐいす, ウグイス, uguisu, represents an ornithological specialization and refers only to the bush warbler. Written in kanji, 鴬 or 鶯 ,uguisu, remains a very common general name not only for this species, but also for several other sweet singing birds. The original Chinese character underlying both of these kanji means 'oriole', but it is read in the Japanese manner as uguisu 'bush warbler'. The modern Japanese name for the Black-naped Oriole comes full circle in incorporating the re-generalized bush warbler name as 高麗鶯, こうらいうぐいす, コウライウグイス, kourai uguisu, lit. "Korean bush warbler'. Rakusan depicted this oriole in design number 18 in this series.

In 69 the bush warbler and its nestlings are shown at its 巣, su, 'nest'.


Related Designs:
Other designs with lilies:
104-1 104-2 104-3 104-4 104-5 104

Other designs with bush warbler:
4 122-4 136