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.
Pencil marks all over the carboard backing. Signed: Zen Hokusai Iitsu hitsu.
Nishiki-e, horizontal oban; colored ink on paper.
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.
Eijudo (Nishimura-ya Yohachi), (no seal).
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