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HOKUSAI’S 36 VIEWS OF MT. FUJI

While a number of great artists captured various views of Mt. Fuji to include the wonderful artist named Ando Hiroshige, Katsushika Hokusai is also well known for his depiction of this giant mountain.  Although Hokusai was able to create many wonderful masterpieces, each with his distinct style, he was probably known best for his landscape work. 

During his career, Hokusai created some memorable pieces although his version of “36 Views of Mt. Fuji”, which was produced in 1827, was his best work by far.  While the series initially consisted of 36 prints, 10 additional prints were added over the course of the following 10 years.  This series, which was called “Fugaku Sanju Rokkei” in Japanese, was republished in the 20th century due to its vast popularity. 

The initial prints were created from 1760 to 1849, each in the Ukiyo-e styling of woodblock prints.  While Hiroshige’s version of the same view was more advanced and detailed, Hokusai brought to the series an almost elementary element, making it quite famous.  For instance, one view of Mt. Fuji from Suruga Bay shows a simple boat out on the water with the snow-covered mountain as the backdrop and a bare cherry tree hanging over the shore’s edge.

Another view of Mt. Fuji from this collection was taken from Ejiri in Suruga Province.  While the coloring is beautiful, the painting seems a little strange, depicting what appears to be young schoolchildren walking along a path in a field, tossing papers into the air.  Then, another vantage point features an Enza Matsu pine tree at Aoyama.  In this painting, beautiful coloring of blue and yellow are used.  The mountain seems again, elementary but the shading in this piece is done quite well. 

Probably one of the most talked about paintings in Hokusai’s series, “36 Views of Mt. Fuji”, is done in a Shojin Tozan design, representing climbers on the actual mountain.  These climbers are making their way up jagged volcanic rock early in the morning on a cold day.  In fact, of all 46 prints in this particular series this is the only one now showing the summit of the mountain.  Most experts believe this is simply another angle of this artist’s creativity rather than something meaningful and symbolic. 

You would even notice a cave in the upper right-hand corner of the painting where a large gathering of pilgrims show them trying to keep warm, possibly waiting for the sun to warm the day before heading further up the summit.  Another interesting aspect of this one piece is that the clouds are very western style, which is seen by the pink coloring in the sky and crevices along the lower third portion of the design.  Regardless, Hokusai was quite successful with this series, again bringing his own creativity to the illustrations.


Read more about Japanese Woodblock Prints:
  Japanese Woodblock Prints   Ukiyo-e   Toyokuni Utagawa   Eisen Kikugawa   Hiroshige Ando   Utamaro Kitigawa

 

Visit our online store for dozens of Japanese Woodblock Prints

Click here to see our current selection.
 
The Great Wave by Hokusai
The Great Wave by Hokusai
Code:fw1002
Price:$27.95
Kabuki by Utagawa
Kabuki by Utagawa
Code:fw1121
Price:$27.95
3 Beauties by Utamaro
3 Beauties by Utamaro
Code:fw1118
Price:$27.95
General in Battle by Utagawa
General in Battle by Utagawa
Code:fw1120
Price:$27.95
Mt Fuji by Hiroshige
Mt Fuji by Hiroshige
Code:fw1010
Price:$27.95
 

 


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