Edition I
Edition II (not illustrated)

百合 [from folio]



笹百合に躑躅と草 [as amended]

sasayuri ni tsutsuji to sou

Bamboo Lily with Deciduous Azalea and Grass


Original Number / 原番号


Theme Identification / 画題識別

104 Lily Theme

Identification Notes:
This design is the fourth of thirty-six woodblock prints in Rakusan's second main sequence series, 篁子生画選, Koushisei Gasen, lit. 'Koushisei's Print Selection' (usually called here the 36 Series). Rakusan originally labeled this design number 4. However, after 1936 reprinting two series with duplicated numbering caused some confusion. To avoid further problems Rakusan decided to extend the numbering system from the preceding 100 Series into the 36 Series, and this design was relabeled as number 104, the 104th design published in his main sequence. Rakusan occasionally wrote his identification number in pencil on the reverse of the print.

Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
Edition I: 楽山篁子生 Raku-zan Kou-shi-sei + 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 and dating characteristics applicable to the entire series, see the Editions article.]

Print History:
The woodblock print of 104 was adapted from 104-0, an actual-size original painting on silk created in 1933. Because Rakusan intended to retain all of the 36 Series prototypes in his personal collection, he did not affix a signature or seal, and the silk remained loose and unmounted. The silk was originally a pale cream color, but over time it has significantly yellowed. The actual background color of the painting is unpainted silk (and for the woodblock print it is uninked paper).
104-0 (original painting on silk, collection of the artist)

Edition I (1934-1941): 104 was one of a contemporaneous early group of six 36 Series designs initially created within the last half of 1933. Almost all documented copies of 104 are from the prewar edition I period, and all are very similar in color and technique. The copy illustrated above is typical of edition I (except that it has a secondarily added city-name stamp in the lower left corner).

Edition II (1948-1955): 104 is one of only a few 36 Series designs currently known to have been reprinted in a very small edition II distinguished by different attribution markings. The scarcity of edition II copies of 104 suggests that only a single print run was ever made sometime during the postwar edition II printing period. Documentation of this later edition is very limited, and it remains unclear if edition II can also be identified as a different color and technique morph. The copy in Rakusan's personal 36 Series demonstration set is this version, and it bears a secondary Rakusan cursive signature. (Not illustrated.)

The earliest 36 Series prints were delivered tipped into recessed wells of presentation sheets embossed in their lower margins with the series title. Because all early edition I prints once had these presentation sheets, a copy which retains its presentation sheet must have been printed during the 1930s. After his supply of presentation sheets was exhausted, Rakusan distributed subsequently-reprinted copies loose. A limited number of leftover earlier-printed copies of some designs on presentation sheets were still being distributed shortly after World War II, but by then most designs were only available as loose sheets. However, absence of presentation sheets is not diagnostic of later printings because many early prints have subsequently been detached from those sheets.

Copies in Public Collections:
Edition I: Museum of FIne Arts, Boston, MA, USA; (50.3782) [not illustrated online].

Edition I: Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, USA; (1989) 89.28.1143 [not illustrated online].

Theme History:
The Rakusan project which produced 篁子生画選, Koushisei Gasen, resulted in two related series of woodblock prints. Each print of the 36 Series is intimately connected to a group of prints with the same subjects in the Fan Series. Together these subject-related prints in the two series constitute a theme. Each theme normally consists of a quintet of monochrome Fan Series designs (one design in each of the five fan shapes), plus one polychrome, 36 Series design which illustrates the theme subject. The theme is labeled here by the original Rakusan number of its 36 Series design followed by the subject. 104 is the 36 Series design of the 104 Lily theme.

The 104 Lily theme is one of the many entirely regular themes represented by a complete fan quintet and a color woodblock print. The 36 Series design 104 and all five Fan Series designs have seal A which indicates carving dates around the third quarter of 1933. It was during this period that Rakusan was making his initial plans for the two series. He created and carved all of the designs in the first six themes (including those of the 104 Lily theme) plus a scattering of other designs in the months before publication of the series was to begin. The prints in both series were later printed in the same months they were published.

Publication of the Fan Series and the 36 Series began in January 1934 with installment one containing the first three themes. On the documents attatched to the Fan Series delivery folio envelope for installment one Rakusan announced that lily designs would be published the following month, February 1934, in installment two (of twelve). In that announcement he used the theme title 百合, yuri, 'lily', which was also the original title of 36 Series design 104.

However, between installment one in January 1934 and installment four in June 1934, Rakusan skipped two monthly deliveries while he sorted out the remaining themes in both series. Because the delivery documents for installment two remain to be discovered, installment two (including the 104 Lily theme) could theoretically have been published in either February, March, or April 1934. However, the wooden blocks for printing the designs in installment two had already been carved, and there seems no reason why installment two would not have appeared as advertised in February 1934. Other evidence suggests that the two missed months during which major changes occurred in markings and organization were a single block between installment two and installment three.

Rakusan included at least two different kinds of lily among the 104 Lily theme designs, and the defining subject is just 'lily' rather than any particular species. At least some of the lily designs in this theme were adapted from sketches originally created in the late 1920s during the planning of design 69 in the earlier 100 Series (see below).

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 species illustrated in 104 (and also in 104-1, 104-3, 104-5, and 69).
(The other two lily designs, 104-2 and 104-4, are native Tiger Lily, Lilium lancifolium, 鬼百合, おにゆり, オニユリ, oni-yuri, lit. 'demon-lily'.)
[In 69 Rakusan apparently accidentally uses the name of a different native species in the title-caption, Goldband Lily, Lilium auratum, 山百合, やまゆり, ヤマユリ, yama-yuri, lit. 'mountain lily'. There are currently no identifiable examples of Goldband Lily among Rakusan's artworks.]

Azaleas and rhododendrons (both genus Rhododendron) are represented by an enormous number of native species, hybrids, and varieties in Japan. It is almost impossible to identify particular species solely from artworks. The general name usually applied to all azaleas is 躑躅, ツツジ, つつじ, tsutsuji. The azalea varieties shown in Rakusan's artworks are all of the deciduous group.

In addition 104 also includes three long blades of an unidentified grass. (Note that the same grass is used in a similar way in the composition of 104-1.)

Related Designs:
Other designs in the 104 Lily theme:
104-1 104-2 104-3 104-4 104-5

Other designs with bamboo lilies:
69 104-1 104-3 104-5

Other designs including various kinds of deciduous azalea:
44alt 44 93 105-3