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 88 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 88th 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 88 was in December 1932 (or perhaps slightly later), and it was delivered in installment forty-four (of fifty).
Because this design was among the last in the series, it was unlikely to have been reprinted immediately.
Therefore only the initial print run of about two hundred copies comprises edition I for 88.
The copy illustrated here is typical of edition I.
No later edition reprintings of 88 are currently known.
Copies in Public Collections:
Edition I: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA; (1951) 51.1742 [not illustrated online].
In Japanese the general name for any cherry is 桜 (or older style 櫻), さくら, サクラ, sakura
Rakusan described the cherry variety in 88 as くわりん桜 , kuwarin-zakura
, lit. 'Chinese quince - cherry'. Here he uses an old-style reading of the name for the Chinese Quince, Pseudocydonia (Chaenomeles) sinensis
, 花梨, 花林, 花櫚 as kuwarin
Today, Rakusan's kuwarin
would be written and read as かりん, カリン, karin
; and his cherry variety as かりんざくら, カリンザクラ, karin-zakura
This varietal name is not currently in common use, but the origin of the name is obvious.
The mature cherry blossoms in 88 are not open, flattish disks as in most cherry varieties.
Instead they are cup-shaped in the manner of quince blossoms.
From the orange new foliage and typical bark it appears to be a selection (or hybrid) of Japanese (Hill) Cherry, Prunus serrulata
, popularly called 山桜, やまざくら, ヤマザクラ, yama-zakura
, lit. 'mountain cherry'. In Japan this wild cherry is sometimes identified as Prunus (Cerasus) jamazakura
(with the species name taken from a European spelling of the Japanese name).
Like the Omuro Cherry in 3 (see related designs below), the cherry variety in 88 is also a late bloomer (mid spring).
As Rakusan indicated, there are two species of woodpecker in this composition, and both species are familiar Japanese natives.
The large bird at the top is Great Spotted Woodpecker, Dendrocopos (Picoides) major, 赤啄木鳥, あかげら, アカゲラ, aka-gera, lit. 'red woodpecker'.
The two smaller birds are Japanese Pygmy Woodpeckers, Dendrocopos (Picoides) kizuki, 小啄木鳥, こげら, コゲラ, ko-gera, lit. 'small woodpecker'.