HOKUSAI, The Dragon Of Smoke Escaping From Mount Fuji

TOM HILL - Designer

Joined August 2010

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Artist's Description

THIS IMAGE HAS A LOW RESOLUTION
because of the original medium it was created upon,
some of the materials background weave can be seen.

A dragon emerges from the thick black smoke circling Mount Fuji. The smoke and the dragon are one and the same, the smoke being the path through which the dragon has travelled to escape. In contrast, Mount Fuji stands in pristine white, covered in snow.

Mountains in the foreground and a small puff of trees indicate the extent of the size of the mountain, which is unaffected by the escape of the dragon. Hokusai was a master at evincing an almost religious reverence for the majesty of the mountain, which stands like a fortress in the middle of the painting, allowing the dragon of smoke to escape.

Katsushika Hokusai

October 31, 1760 (exact date questionable) – May 10, 1849) was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period.

He was influenced by such painters as Sesshu, and other styles of Chinese painting.

Born in Edo (now Tokyo), Hokusai is best known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which includes the internationally recognized print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, created during the 1820s.

Hokusai created the “Thirty-Six Views” both as a response to a domestic travel boom and as part of a personal obsession with Mount Fuji.

It was this series, specifically The Great Wave print and Fuji in Clear Weather, that secured Hokusai’s fame both in Japan and overseas. As historian Richard Lane concludes, “Indeed, if there is one work that made Hokusai’s name, both in Japan and abroad, it must be this monumental print-series…”.

While Hokusai’s work prior to this series is certainly important, it was not until this series that he gained broad recognition.

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