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The Evolution of Hokusai's Masterful Depiction of the Ever-Changing Waters: Waves

<p>Katsushika Hokusai: The Artist Who Depicted All Things in the Universe</p>

Hokusai, an ukiyo-e artist who was praised as having "depicted everything under the sun," truly lived up to this reputation. Throughout his life, Hokusai aimed to capture not only landscapes and people, which are clearly visible, but also intangible elements like wind, the flow of water, and the passage of time. Moreover, he even attempted to depict deities, Buddhas, and supernatural phenomena.

The depiction of waves Hokusai continuously pursued

Hokusai, who depicted a wide range of subjects, had a particular lifelong obsession with the expression of "waves." Throughout his life, he depicted waves numerous times, repeatedly experimenting to capture the ever-changing movement of water. Despite having similar compositions and common elements, Hokusai's depiction of waves was always innovative.

To trace this evolution, we will introduce four of Hokusai's waves here.

"Rowing Boats in Waves at Oshiokuri" (left) and "Sight at Honmoku off the Coast of Kanagawa" (right) are both works that Hokusai created in his 40s. The Western influences are evident in various aspects such as the framed borders, horizontal titles, and the depiction of shadows, showcasing Hokusai's eagerness to explore new expressions.

Both pieces depict boats that appear on the verge of being engulfed by high waves, offering a glimpse of the prototype for his later work "The Great Wave off Kanagawa." The wave crests are rounded and resemble a cat's paw, with the thickness of the rising waves already conveying a sense of the immense weight of the water surging forward.

Hokusai's masterpiece, "The Great Wave off Kanagawa," was created when he was in his early 70s. Compared to the earlier two pieces, this work exhibits greater impact and realism in the way the waves rise, the spray of the water, the claw-like shape of the wave crests, and the use of shading.

Additionally, while "Rowing Boats in Waves at Oshiokuri" and "Sight at Honmoku off the Coast of Kanagawa" are depicted from a slightly elevated perspective, looking down from above, "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" is drawn from a viewpoint close to the sea surface, almost from the side. By lowering the viewpoint, the small boat that seems about to be swallowed, combined with the quiet, towering presence of Mount Fuji, gives the viewer a sense of the massive wave surging forward with great force.

It is an immortal masterpiece that can be considered the culmination of Hokusai's years-long pursuit of realistic and captivating depictions and presentations of waves.

"Fishing Boats at Chosi," like "The Great Wave off Kanagawa," is a work created by Hokusai in his early 70s.

In this piece, Hokusai chose not to depict the sky, instead filling the entire canvas with the ocean's surface. He dynamically illustrates the waves: those approaching in the background behind the ridge of the rock running diagonally across the scene, and those receding in the foreground.

The people desperately maneuvering their boats amidst the crashing waves on the rocky point seem to depict the smallness of humans against the harsh forces of nature. Additionally, Hokusai's mastery developed over many years is beautifully demonstrated by his use of deep indigo shading to convey the depth and vastness of the water.

"Fishing Boats at Chosi" is a masterpiece in which Hokusai, who spent a long time pursuing the depiction of waves, skillfully differentiates the expressions of the approaching and receding waves.

葛飾北斎「千絵の海 総州銚子」アダチ版復刻浮世絵

Limited time and 20 sets only!
Enjoy Exploration and Evolution: "Hokusai's Waves" 4 Prints Set


A set of "Hokusai's Waves," consists of the following 4 prints:
"Rowing Boats in Waves in Waves at Oshiokuri"
"Sight at Honmoku off the Coast of Kanagawa"
"The Great Wave off Kanagawa"
"Fishing Boats at Choshi"

This set is priced at ¥72,000 (excluding tax).

<Free Gift only the order by August 31, 2024>
You will receive either one frame (¥15,000) or one Tato cloth storage box (¥12,000) as a free gift.
Please select your preferred item and add it to your cart.

*Each print comes with a specially designed mat board for the Adachi original ukiyo-e frame.
If you do not need the mat board, please indicate it in the remarks section.
*This promotion is effective until August 31, 2024, or until 20 sets have been ordered,
whichever comes first

Limited time and 20 sets only! Enjoy Exploration and Evolution: "Hokusai's Waves" 4 Prints Set
Limited time and 20 sets only! Enjoy Exploration and Evolution: "Hokusai's Waves" 4 Prints Set
Limited time and 20 sets only! Enjoy Exploration and Evolution: "Hokusai's Waves" 4 Prints Set
Limited time and 20 sets only! Enjoy Exploration and Evolution: "Hokusai's Waves" 4 Prints Set
葛飾北斎「千絵の海 総州銚子」アダチ版復刻浮世絵
Limited time and 20 sets only! Enjoy Exploration and Evolution: "Hokusai's Waves" 4 Prints Set
Limited time and 20 sets only! Enjoy Exploration and Evolution: "Hokusai's Waves" 4 Prints Set
Limited time and 20 sets only! Enjoy Exploration and Evolution: "Hokusai's Waves" 4 Prints Set
Limited time and 20 sets only! Enjoy Exploration and Evolution: "Hokusai's Waves" 4 Prints Set
Limited time and 20 sets only! Enjoy Exploration and Evolution: "Hokusai's Waves" 4 Prints Set

Limited time and 20 sets only! Enjoy Exploration and Evolution: "Hokusai's Waves" 4 Prints Set

This set allows you to enjoy Hokusai's relentless pursuit of 'waves' through 4 works from his late thirties to his later years. You will receive either one frame (¥15,000) or one Tato cloth storage box (¥12,000) as a free gift. Please select your preferred item.

Color: T: One Tato cloth storage box (free)
Hokusai produced his very first print in 1779 at the age of twenty. It was an actor print in the hosoban format signed Katsukawa Shunro. He built his career by creating more actor prints but was mainly active as a book illustrator.Hokusai also produced paintings throughout his life and his works surpassed those of other ukiyo-e masters in terms of both quality and quantity. He began to draw designs for large, single-sheet prints after the age of seventy. At this time he also started to produce landscape and flowers and birds prints; late in life he did however again concentrate on book illustrations and paintings. In summary Hokusai can be said to have contributed greatly to the field of ukiyo-e in a variety of ways.

Price

Sale price¥72,000
Quantity:
Size/WeightPrint Size: "Rowing Boats in Waves in Waves at Oshiokuri" 18.0 × 23.9 cm, "Sight at Honmoku off the Coast of Kanagawa" 22.0 × 35.0 cm, "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" 26.4 × 38.6 cm, "Fishing Boats at Choshi" 18.4 × 26.4 cm, Frame Size: 40.0 × 55.5 cm, Frame Weight: about 1.8kg, Tato cloth storage box Size: 40.0 × 55.5 cm
MaterialPaper: Echizen Kizuki Hosho Washi made by Living National Treasure, Ichibei Iwano
FeatureType of print: Woodcut Print
NotesThis product includes:
・An explanation of the work in English and Japanese
・A leaflet to introduce the production process of ukiyo-e print
A set of "Hokusai's Waves," consists of the following 4 prints:

"Rowing Boats in Waves in Waves at Oshiokuri"
"Sight at Honmoku off the Coast of Kanagawa"
"The Great Wave off Kanagawa"
"Fishing Boats at Choshi"

Adachi's Philosophy and Mission

At Adachi Institute of Woodcut Prints, we create attractive works that are in keeping with the times while maintaining the basics of traditional woodcut printing techniques.

Adachi's Meticulous Quality and Materials

At Adachi Institute of Woodcut Prints, we use carefully selected materials and tools to bring out the original beauty of woodcut prints to the fullest.

Traditional Techniques and Adachi's Artisans

The production of ukiyo-e, which developed as a commercial printing method, focused on efficiency and profitability. And so, all processes are streamlined and sophisticated. We will introduce the basics of ukiyo-e techniques.