Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
||[no kanji signature]
||+ Seal C
|| + Rakusan Tsuchiya [cursive romaji signature]
Although a woodblock-printed cursive romaji signature is incorporated within the design, WC1935 is unusual in having no Rakusan kanji signature. It is also the only known design with a miniaturized version of seal C.
[For illustration of seals, see the Seals article.]
This woodblock print WC1935 was modeled on an original painting on paper about two or three times larger whose present location is unknown. Although WC1935 is currently the winter card with the earliest recorded distribution date, the publication dates for most of the winter cards remain conjectural, and the sequence order is subject to change with new information.
All known copies of WC1935 have the same edition I signature and seal markings. However, two different versions of WC1935 are distinguished by the presence or absence of a title. Version 1 has a woodblock-printed title in a vertical column in the upper right margin reading:
GOLDEN PAVILION KYOTO
This title (like the similar ones for "WC4" and "WC5") is written in all-capital block letters based on one of the styles of Rakusan's own romaji writing. Version 2 differs consistently from version 1 only in omitting the title.
Copies of both versions were printed and distributed both before and after World War II. Version 1 copies (without the title) are by far the most common, including all copies remaining in the Tsuchiya family's personal collection. WC1935 was reprinted in small numbers in many separate print runs. As a result, there are often noticeable differences in hue, saturation, and bokashi shading technique among the various copies. Differences similar to those between versions (illustrated by the examples above) also occur among different copies of the same version.
Many of the winter cards (possibly including WC1935) were commissioned by Mr. Masao Morikawa, the Secretary to the President of Doshisha University in Kyoto, who was both a long-time friend and an important and influential Rakusan patron. Morikawa is known to have sent out version 1 copies of WC1935 for the winter holidays of 1935 (hence the assigned designation used here), but it could have been first published earlier. One of these Morikawa version 1 copies of WC1935 has been preserved in the collection of the Doshisha Archives Center. On this particular copy the woodblock print is attached to a card stock consisting of a single, flat, sheet of paper double-folded into quarters. Most importantly, this copy has two secondarily-added personal inscriptions, one on the cover on the print itself and the other, including the date, inside on the card stock:
|Version 1 Morikawa copy (Doshisha Archives Center)
On the cover within the image just inside the margin at the top of the print Morikawa hand-wrote in cursive:
Xmas Greetings from the Morikawas.
Inside on the folded card stock is a message handwritten in cursive in red ink:
Copies in Public Collections:
With happy thoughts and hearty greetings at Christmas 1935
[Morikawa wrote the main greeting and his personal signature, his wife added her own signature, but it is uncertain who added the block-printed name of their small son.]
Edition I Version 1: Doshisha Archives Center, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan.
[The cover of this copy was included in an exhibition of Kyoto scenes presented in the Harris Science Hall Doshisha Gallery on the main Imadegawa campus of Doshisha University in 2014, and it is still illustrated online in the publicity materials from that exhibition.]
The Golden Pavilion, 金閣, kinkaku
, is one of the most famous buildings in Japan.
It is part of a Zen Buddhist temple complex in northwestern Kyoto which is properly called Rokuon-ji, 鹿苑寺, rokuon-ji
, 'deer garden temple'.
However, the building and complex are most commonly referred to as the Kinkakuji (or Kinkaku-ji), 金閣寺, kinkaku-ji
, 'gold(en) pavilion temple'.
The pavilion extends over a reflecting pond, 鏡湖池, kyouko-chi
, 'mirror pond' which includes ten small islands - some planted with small trees.
In WC1935 the Kinkakuji is viewed facing north-east from the garden entrance toward the front quarter of the building. The sky is overcast gray and the trees and roofs are covered with fresh snow. The snow-covered mound in the background is a much simplified Mount Daimonji, 大文字山, daimonji-yama. The mirror pond is not frozen solid as in LK3-1 and LK3-2, but it is not as reflective as in LK1-10 and LK2-9.
Rakusan was very fond of the Kinkakuji and no less than twelve different depictions of it have survived among his artworks. He often described the location of his home and studio as being nearby the Kinkakuji since both were in the same section of the city. His intent was to encourage visitors to that famous tourist attraction to make a stop at his studio on the same trip. The Kinkakuji in WC1935 is the original structure built in 1397 which was destroyed by an arson fire in 1950. The current replica structure replaced it in 1955.