[modernly supplied title]


kaki ni hachi

Persimmons and Wasp


Assigned Number / 規定番号


Theme Identification / 画題識別

110 Persimmon Theme / 110 柿 (カキ) 画題

Signature and Seal Markings:
Edition I (only edition): 楽山篁子生 Raku-zan Kou-shi-sei + Seal C

[For illustration of seals listed by seal code letter, see the Seals article.]

Series History and Definitions:
During the two years between mid 1933 and mid 1935 Rakusan produced a series of 180 individual woodblock-printed fan designs. These fan designs are printed as negative images with a single impression of black ink. Although all are actually woodblock prints, this traditional negative-image printing style is called 石摺(り), ishi-zuri, lit. 'stone rubbing', from its superficial resemblance to that technique. Rakusan called this series 篁子生石摺画選, Koushisei Ishizuri Gasen, lit. 'Koushisei's Stone-rubbing Print Selection', but it is usually called here the Fan Series.

Rakusan arranged the Fan Series prints into shared-subject groups typically consisting of one design in each of five different fan silhouette shapes. Each of these groups of Fan Series designs are united by a corresponding polychrome 36 Series design which defines the subject. Each shared-subject Fan Series group and its 36 Series design together comprise a theme (画題, gadai).

Rakusan did not include the Fan Series in his main sequence numbering. Therefore, the original number used for each of the 36 Series prints has been modified to identify the Fan Series members of its theme. The five different fan silhouette shapes have been here assigned arbitrary numbers 1 through 5. To indicate a fan design these shape designations are added to the 36 Series number separated by a hyphen. 110-4 is the Fan Series design with fan shape 4 in the 110 Persimmon theme. Rakusan used the theme subject title, 柿, kaki, 'persimmon' on the Fan Series delivery documents. Like all other designs in this series, 110-4 was only produced in a single print run, and few copies are currently documented.

Copies in Public Collections:
Edition I: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA; (1950) 50.327 [not illustrated online].

Theme History:
The 110 Persimmon theme is one of the many entirely regular themes represented by a complete fan quintet and a color woodblock print. The Fan Series designs in the 110 Persimmon theme were produced as woodblock prints in June 1934 and distributed June 25, 1934 in installment four (of twelve). On the installment delivery documents Rakusan used the theme subject title, 柿, kaki, 'persimmon'.

The signature and seal markings and inconsistencies in style suggest that the 110 Persimmon designs were actually created over an extended period encompassing late 1933 into the middle of 1934. This theme is unusual in that it includes designs with four different seals which were produced in at least three distinct carving periods.

Although seal C is the most used seal in the Fan Series, 110-4 is the only seal C design in this theme. All of the seal C fan designs were created during the second design period in early 1934.

At least some persimmon designs were adapted from sketches originally created in the late 1920s during the planning of design 19 of the earlier 100 Series (see below).

The composition of 110-4 includes two persimmon branches with leaves and two fruit. On one of the fruit sits a wasp hanging below which implies that the persimmons are ripe. 110-4 is a mature and successful design, and all of the design elements are line-drawings which work equally well as drawn or reversed. Note that the calyxes are distinguished with an overall pattern of tiny dots.

The woodblock print of 110-4 was modeled closely on an actual-size original sumi sketch which although lost can be reconstructed by digitally reversing the image of the woodblock print:

110-4 as originally drawn (reconstruction)

Species Illustrated:
(Japanese) Persimmon, Diospyros kaki, 柿, かき, カキ, kaki, is a familiar fruit tree now widely planted around the world. Despite the name, the tree is native to China, but it has been bred into several popular commercial varieties in Japan where it was an early introduction. The persimmon fruit is very astringent and is not eaten until it is overripe and sweet.

Wasps and bees share the same name in Japanese, 蜂, はち, ハチ, hachi. The wasp species shown here has not yet been identified more closely.

Related Designs:
Other designs in the 110 Persimmon theme:
110-1 110-2 110-3 110-5 110

Other designs with persimmons:
19alt 19

Other designs with wasps:
104-3 107 112