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Artworks Gallery

Note: The Rakusan.net website currently offers an expanded subpage with additional images and discussion for every Rakusan woodblock print design known as of 2020.

Eventually, there will also be a similar treatment for every known Rakusan original painting. The presently ongoing expansion of the website is gradually adding the painting galleries and subpages. Unfortunately, many of the internal links from and to the paintings sections will work properly only after the expansion of those sections has been completed. We apologize for any navigational inconveniences during the build. However, if you have information about any print designs not included here, or about any original paintings of any subject, please contact us.

The first print section (Section 1) includes only those designs for which a Rakusan attribution is secure. Prints in this group were produced and distributed by the Rakusan Studio. Examples of nearly all are included in the personal collection of the artist and his family, and the rest have good documentation.

Because Rakusan repeatedly edited his own records and holdings, absence from the family collection is not a barrier to attribution. References to Rakusan artworks prepared for other publishers to produce were routinely omitted, and example copies were not held. In addition, Rakusan selectively did not retain anything which he did not consider among his best works. Presumably, this culling would have included genuine Rakusan studio output that he simply no longer liked and approved of. The second print section (Section 2) includes designs which can plausibly be attributed to Rakusan but which lack secure documentation and are not present in the family collection.

Each of the woodblock prints actually has margins on all four sides of the image area. Here those margins have been deliberately computer-cropped in order to display the design portions of the images at a larger scale in the available space. (Warning: Physical removal of these margins is a serious condition fault which adversely affects real and educational value of the prints and should never be done!) As a result of the computer-cropping, the title-captions and watermarks of the 100 Series designs (and a few others) which appear in the bottom margins are no longer visible in context. Therefore, on each of the subpages for the affected designs, a separate, increased-scale, image of the original title-caption is included. Increasing the scale of the printing of the title-caption relative to the design image also greatly improves its legibility. The watermarks are not shown on the subpages, but are the typical ones for the various editions unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Most of the original paintings and woodblock prints produced by Rakusan are in sets or series. If his original titles and arrangements are known, this catalogue uses them; otherwise titles and arrangements are supplied here as indicated. The numberings for the 100 Series and for the 36 Series are entirely original to Rakusan and indicate the order in which these woodblock prints were first published.

To open individual galleries, click on the thumbnail illustration in the following chart. Within each gallery, to view a larger image and additional details on a subpage, click on the thumbnail illustration.

galleries titles, transliterations,
& [working titles]
size design totals descriptive comments
Rakuzan Kachou Gafu
[100 Series]
dai oban 100 polychrome, life-size birds usually with flowers; sheets always have title-captions and edition watermarks within lower margins
素描 Sobyou
['Rough Sketches',
100 Series Alternates]
dai oban 36 two-tone black and gray; same subjects as 100 Series; sheets always have edition I watermarks within lower margins
Koushisei Gasen
[36 Series]
oban 36 polychrome, various kacho subjects; each corresponds to a Fan Series group with the same subject
Koushisei Ishizuri Gasen
[Fan Series, fan designs]
oban 180 monochrome black fan silhouettes (as negatives); groups have same subjects as 36 Series
[Winter Cards] greeting cards 7 polychrome, various subjects all with snow
[Souvenir Prints] chuban 4 polychrome, simple designs including landscapes and cartoons

galleries titles, transliterations,
& [working titles]
size design totals descriptive comments
[miscellaneous prints T] o-hosoban 1 polychrome, antique style; *not included in family archives
[miscellaneous prints U] [various] 4+ polychrome, several subjects and styles; *not included in family archives; probably not produced by Rakusan Studio
You Souka Fu
[Western Flowers Series]
oban 49+ polychrome, garden flowers; *authorship of individual prints uncertain but includes some designs by Rakusan and others by So-un; published by Maria Gabo, Kyoto (not by Rakusan Studio). Design total may be incomplete.
[Plus a supplemental set of 15 related designs]
[Hodo-Takemura Floral Series] oban 27+ polychrome, garden flowers; *almost all designs by Hodo (probably no designs by Rakusan); published by Takemura Hideo, Yokohama (not by Rakusan Studio or by Maria Gabo); included here only because of frequent confusion with preceding series. Design total may be incomplete.
[An additional 12 designs in a contemporary Hodo series unrelated to the other series here are also included as an addendum. Design total may be incomplete.]

[Section currently under construction. Subpages marked [*] are not yet available]

galleries titles, transliterations,
& [working titles]
size design totals descriptive comments
[Landscapes: Kyoto 1 (LK1)] dai oban 16 very large, polychrome, Kyoto landscape paintings on silk; all four seasons represented
[Landscapes: Kyoto 2 (LK2)] oban 10 medium, polychrome, Kyoto landscape paintings on silk; most are smaller versions of LK1; no winter season designs
[Landscapes: Kyoto 3 (LK3)] chuban 12 small Kyoto landscape paintings on paper; 11 in black, brown, white, and blue pigments; 1 polychrome additional version; only winter season designs
[Landscapes: Chinese Style Kinkaku-ji (LCK)] oban 3 medium, polychrome, Kyoto landscape paintings on silk; only summer season renditions of the Kinkaku-ji in an archaic style
[Landscapes: Fujisan (LF)] chuban 4 small, polychrome, Mount Fuji landscape paintings on silk
[Landscapes: Other] various 5 miscellaneous landscape paintings and scrolls not part of other series

© 2005 (revised © 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019) Dr Michael J P Nichols