Tag Archives: Hokusai


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Hokusai - The Great Wave

Katsushika Hokusai (葛飾 北斎?, October 31, 1760 (exact date questionable) – May 10, 1849) was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period.[1] He was influenced by such painters as Sesshu, and other styles of Chinese painting.[2] 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.  Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji is an ukiyo-e series of large, color woodblock prints (1760–1849). The series depicts Mount Fuji in differing seasons and weather conditions from a variety of different places and distances.

In the artistic technique of creating a “woodblock print”, the text or image was first drawn onto washi (Japanese paper), then glued onto a plank of wood, usually cherry. Wood was then cut away, based on the drawing outlines. A small wooden hard object called a baren was used to press or burnish the paper against the inked woodblock to apply the ink to the paper. Although this may have been done purely by hand at first, complex wooden mechanisms were soon invented and adopted to help hold the woodblock perfectly still and apply proper pressure in the printing process.  (Wikipedia.org)

See ALL 36 views of Mt. Fuji by Hokusai on this link:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty-six_Views_of_Mount_Fuji


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I had Ramen noodles for lunch today.  Later, I ran across this wonderful tribute to Hokusai.  As a student of art, and oil painter myself, I have always admired the preeminent Japanese master of wood block prints.  His best know work, “The Great Wave” has been imitated as much as any great art masterpiece in history.  It is part of a series of prints featuring Mt. Fuji, each from a different vantage point.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa (神奈川沖浪裏 Kanagawa-oki nami-ura?, lit. “Under a Wave off Kanagawa”), also known as The Great Wave or simply The Wave, is a woodblock print by the Japanese artist Hokusai. An example of ukiyo-e art, it was published sometime between 1830 and 1833 (during the Edo Period) as the first in Hokusai’s series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei (富嶽三十六景?)), and is his most famous work. This particular woodblock is one of the most recognized works of Japanese art in the world. It depicts an enormous wave threatening boats near the Japanese prefecture of Kanagawa. While sometimes assumed to be a tsunami, the wave is, as the picture’s title notes, more likely to be a large okinami – literally “wave of the open sea.” As in all the prints in the series, it depicts the area around Mount Fuji under particular conditions, and the mountain itself appears in the background.


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One of favorite artists is the Japanese master, Hokusai,  (1760 – 1849) an ukiyo-e painter and print-maker of the Edo period.  He is famed for his masterful series of wood-block prints,  “Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji”, the most famous of which is “The Wave”.  Learn more about Hokusai here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokusai    See the complete works of Hokusai:  http://hokusai.us.com/home_en

The CONTRAST between the manually carved and inked woodblock prints of Hokusai and the astonishing global transformation of technology during the past 150 years due to the invention of electricity, is manifested through a computer technology “time warp” that is nothing less than “magic” when compared to our “universe” on Earth only a few lifetimes ago.hokusai_kite-sntA present-day Japanese artist (Segawa thiry-seven) has superimposed changes caused by electronic technology into a centuries-old technique, animating Japanese woodblock prints  to alter the static images and inlay elements of sci-fi and modern culture.