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Johnson Collection of Japanese Prints

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Katsushika Hokusai, Japanese, (1760–1849)
Hodogaya on the Tokaido Road, c. 1829
Ink on Paper
9 7/8 in. x 14 9/16 in. (250.83 mm x 369.89 mm)


Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Creation Place: Asia, Japan
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. James W. Johnson
Accession Number: 46.1.99

Commentary
Around 1830, Katsushika Hokusai designed The Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji (Fugaku Sanjūrokkei), a print series celebrating Japan’s tallest and most sacred mountain. Most of the views spotlight the interaction between humans and the natural landscape, such as the powerful sea in The Great Wave. Here, a group of travelers journey west from Edo (modern Tokyo) towards Kyoto along the Tōkaidō, the route connecting the two cities. They appear weary after descending the hill on the right; the front palanquin bearer wipes his brow while his partner kneels down to tie his sandal, and the rider on the horse bows forward as if falling asleep. The pine trees lining the road seem to open up on either side of the great mountain like stage curtains revealing the drama beyond – a scene that only the man in the center leading the horse appears to appreciate.

- Meher McArthur, January 7, 2021

Marks
Pencil marks all over the carboard backing. Signed: Zen Hokusai Iitsu hitsu.

Medium
Nishiki-e, horizontal oban; colored ink on paper.

Object Description
Mount Fuji is viewed through the screen of tall, angular pines lining the road in Hodogaya along the Tokaido Road. The majestic volcano called Fujiyama has long been identified with Shinto and Buddhist deities and is a popular image for both religious and landscape paintings. In this print Hokusai depicts the scared peak rising beyond the fields of Hodogaya, near modern Yokohama. Trees were planted along the sides of the Tokaido Road to shade travelers passing between Edo and Kyoto; Hokusai uses these pines to establish a rhythm of movement along the road and to create spatial depth. While the main focus is on the landscape panorama, Hokusai also provides touches of humor, with one palanquin bearer fixing his sandal while the other wipes his brow.

Hodogaya was the third station from Nihonbashi Bridge on the Tokaido Road. The color scheme of this print is typical of the Mt. Fuji series, with a minumum number of colors - two shades of blue, two kinds of greens, and a pinkish brown.

Publisher
Eijudo (Nishimura-ya Yohachi), (no seal).

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