fugaku sanjurokkei 富嶽三十六景
“All forms have their own dimensions which we must respect… It must not be forgotten that such things belong to a universe whose harmony we must not break.”
— Hokusai Katsushika
I had great views of Mount Fuji while I was travelling with my parents and thought of Hokusai Katsushika’s Fugaku Sanjurokkei.
Fugaku Sanjurokkei is a series of colour woodblock prints (46 prints) by the Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai Katsushika when he was 72 years at the height of his career.
The series portrays Mount Fuji from different locations, seasons and weather conditions. The original publication of thirty-six prints was successful and led to another ten prints were added to the series.
He rebuilt some of his paintings using compositions from traditional print subjects or existing famous places paintings.
神奈川沖浪裏 ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ is the best-known print in the series. My favourite prints are 凱風快晴 ‘Gaifuukaisei’ and 相州江ノ島 ‘Soushu Enoshima’.
神奈川沖浪裏 ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ The landscape is composed of three elements: stormy sea and waves with detail like an animal’s ‘claw’, three boats transporting live fish from Izu and Boso to markets in Edo bay and a snow-capped Mount Fuji. Hokusai created two similar works about thirty years before the publication of ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’. The simple appearance of this masterpiece is the result of a lengthy process of methodical reflection. Hokusai explains that any object can be drawn using the relationship between the circle and the square in his book ‘Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawing’.
凱風快晴 ‘Gaifuukaisei’ is known as one of the greatest masterpieces of Hokusai. The colour scheme of this painting is the reason this painting gives a strong effect. Red colour depict Mount Fuji reflecting the early morning glow in summer, blue sky with white clouds and deep green for the sea of trees. This simple woodblock painting with only three colours shocked the world of art.
相州江ノ島 ‘Soushu Enoshima’ shows people crossing the sea to Enoshima island while it is low tide. My first journal, ‘Japanese New Year’, show a picture of sunrise above Enoshima. Enoshima is close to where my parents live. When we watch the first sunrise from the beach, we can see both Enoshima and Mount Fuji. It was a destination resort during the Edo period.