"Morning Glory and Yellow Throated Bunting" #27 from the Rakuzan Kachou Gafu by Rakusan Tsuchiya

Morning Glory and Yellow Throated Bunting #27 from the Rakuzan Kachou Gafu by Rakusan Tsuchiya

"Morning Glory and Yellow Throated Bunting" #27 from the Rakuzan Kachou Gafu

Rakusan Tsuchiya


"Morning Glory and Yellow Throated Bunting" #27 from the Rakuzan Kachou Gafu

around February, 1935-41 
color woodcut 
Image Size
13 1/4 x 19" image size 
ink signed "Rakuzan Saku" and artist's "B" seal in lower right image 
Edition Size
second edition from a presumed total edition of about 200 
block titled in kanji, beneath image 
Rakusan/Nichols 27 ii/ii, Foster 27. 
heavy cream Japanese with the "Raku-zan Ka-chou Ga-fu" watermark 
from the second edition of two (without gold glitter). 
artist and Walter T. Foster 
Inventory ID

The following description is copied from Dr. Michael Nichols website devoted to the work of Rakusan:

"This woodblock print was produced from an original painting on silk dating from the late 1920s whose current location is unknown. The identification of this design as number 27 is original to Rakusan, who published the print as the 27th design in his series of one hundred woodblock prints called "Rakuzan Kachou Gafu". 'Rakusan's Flower and Bird Print Series'. Initial edition I publication of 27 was in June 1930 (or perhaps slightly later) in installment fourteen (of fifty).

Apparently, Rakusan encountered early technical difficulties with his first print run copies of 27. Almost immediately the gold glitter, originally scattered over the still-wet background ink, reacted chemically with it. As a result, each speck of glitter was soon surrounded by a brownish halo and the glitter itself was dulled. Presumably because of Rakusan's unhappiness with this development, it is believed that unlike many early designs 27 was not reprinted later in edition I. Therefore, the original print run of about two hundred copies represents the entire edition I output of 27.

In spite of the unintended spotting, 27 proved to be a popular design. Therefore Rakusan ran out of copies to sell, and 27 was among the first three designs reprinted in edition II. However, in edition II Rakusan typically omitted the glitter entirely to avoid a repetition of the earlier chemical issues. A well-documented sale of an edition II copy occurred in September 1935. Other edition II copies of 27 can only be approximately dated from between 1935 and 1941. No edition III reprintings of 27 are currently known.

Japanese Morning Glory, Ipomoea (Parbitis) was originally not native to Japan. However, it was imported from China about 1,200 years ago, and it is now important in Japanese culture. Today, the species is pan-tropical, easily naturalizes, and its ultimate origins are difficult to sort out. In Japan, morning glories have been extensively hybridized and selected to modify its color and flower-form. Rakusan used several different varieties in his designs. Here the bamboo stake support indicates that the morning glory is growing in a garden setting rather than completely in the wild.

The Yellow-throated Bunting is a usually shy native Japanese songbird. In 27 Rakusan shows the more colorful male bird."