Kajikazawa in Kai Province

  • Title(s): Kajikazawa in Kai Province (Kōshū Kajikazawa), from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei)
  • Creator: Katsushika Hokusai
  • Date: About 1830–32
  • Period: Edo period (1615–1868), Ukiyo-e
  • Location: Japan
  • Culture: Japanese, 19th Century
  • Medium: Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper
  • Physical Dimensions: 10 1/4 x 15 1/8 in. (26 x 38.4 cm) or 10 x 15 in. (25.4 x 38.1 cm)
  • Repository: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

In significant contrast to the other prints included in this exhibition here, Hokusai includes human figures very prominently in the foreground and pushes the mountain back to the position of an illustrious onlooker. Throughout most of the 46 prints in the complete series, Hokusai displays Mt. Fuji in detail and often gives it a very prominent place on the page, demonstrating his reverence and respect for it even when it’s not the largest feature. However, in Kajikazawa in Kai Province, fishermen tend to and cast their lines from atop a protruding cliff, all in great detail, while a simple outline of the mountain overlooks their process from a great distance away above the mist. The salient use of people in the foreground draws focus away from the mountain itself and, while Hokusai maintains the peak’s positioning and placement on the page –whose significance comes from the famed mathematical concept of the “golden ratio”–, it implies much less reverence for the mountain and the more traditional, often spiritual, “power in the natural world” that it typically represents. Additionally, Hokusai continues to make ample use of the Prussian blue pigment in this piece, which at the time was only just circulating east from Europe and becoming well-established within the Ukiyo-e art style. As demonstrated in the print, this unexpected inclusion of traditionally European tendencies, both in composition with the golden ratio and color with Prussian blue, is highly distinctive of Hokusai’s contributions to Japanese art.



Author: Alexa Booker

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