Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||Edition I watermark
||+ Seal A
||Edition I watermark*
||+ Seal B
||Edition III watermark
||+ Seal B
*Although currently undocumented, it is possible that a few edition II copies of 91 were printed on edition II watermark paper.
[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 91 is original to Rakusan who published the print as the 91st 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: Initial publication edition I of 91 was in February 1933 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment forty-six (of fifty). Because 91 was among the last designs in the series, only the initial print run of about two hundred copies comprises the entire edition I for this design. About half of the documented copies of 91 are from edition I, including the different examples at top and below left.
Edition II: 91 was reprinted in a single, smaller print run late in edition II, probably circa 1940. This print run is unusual in that some or all of the copies were printed on leftover stocks of edition I watermarked paper. (Although currently only use of edition I paper has been documented for edition II of 91, reprinting of edition II of 61 at the same time was done on both edition I and edition II watermarked papers.) It is unclear if Rakusan's supply of edition II watermarked paper was temporarily unavailable or if the use of the older paper was accidental. Very few edition II copies of 91 have been documented, but the presence of city-name stamps show that edition II copies were still available for sale after World War II, including the example below center.
Edition III: Sometime between 1948 and 1955 a single, small small edition III print run of 91 was made. Currently, all documented edition III copies have a Foster era cursive Rakusan romaji signature, including the example below right, but there are likely to be at least some copies without it.
The background colors in all three editions are different. Edition I has the darkest and most saturated color, edition II has a pinkish tinge and is ligher, and edition III is overall much paler and brighter. There are several other differences which, like the background, are difficult to photograph with much color fidelity. The placement of the signature and seal combination is edition diagnostic since it slightly lower in each of the successive editions.
Copies in Public Collections:
|91 (edition I)
||91 (edition II)
||91 (edition III)
Edition I: Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; (1990) 90.18.10 [illustrated online].
Barley, Hordeum vulgare
, is a cereal grain grown widely around the world.
In Japanese all kinds of land-grown (thereby excluding rice) grains, such as barley, wheat, rye, etc. are called 麦, mugi
, are the ears or seed heads of any of these.
From the distinctive shape of the seed heads, it is evident that Rakusan was depicting barley rather than one of the other grains.
All Dandelions (genus Taraxacum) are referred to in Japanese as 蒲公英, タンポポ, たんぽぽ, tanpopo; (蒲公英 can also be read ほこうえい, hakouei).
Today tanpopo is often used in particular for Taraxacum platycarpum, and Rakusan's illustration is consistent with that species.
The plants are shown in a complete growth cycle, including leaves, buds, open flowers, and spherical mature seed heads.
Skylark, Alauda arvensis, 雲雀, 告天子, ひばり, ヒバリ, hibari, is a familiar Japanese species. It is one of the few species included in more than one design in this series, occurring in 91 and in 9 (see below).
Here an adult skylark is shown bringing food to a nest built on the ground in a weedy grainfield and containing six baby birds.
In its beak the skylark parent bird has brought at least three small, winged insects which are not mentioned in the title-caption.
These are rendered with sufficient detail that it is possible to identify some of them more closely.
Two are crane flies (sometimes also called 'daddy-long-legs') which are represented by the two separate pairs of narrow brown wings with single, dark spots; two green heads, a long thin green body, and long brown legs. The crane fly species intended in 91 is probably Tipula (Yamatotipula) aino, キリウジガガンボ, kiriuji-kaganbo, a common species in Japan. The general name for all kinds of crane fly (family Tipulidae) is 大蚊, ががんぼ, ガガンボ, gaganbo (also read かがんぼ, kaganbo), both lit. 'large mosquito'. The species name makes reference to 蛆, うじ, ウジ, uji, 'larva' which are large and conspicuous in most crane-fly species. In English crane-fly larvae are called 'leatherjackets'.
The other insect is seen only as a single, broader pair of clear, lacy wings which are currently identifiable only as coming from another member of the Diptera.