Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji – 富嶽三十六景 – By Katsushika Hokusai
Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (富嶽三十六景 – Fugaku Sanjūrokkei) is anukiyo-e series of large, color woodblock prints by the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). The series depicts Mount Fuji in differing seasons and weather conditions from a variety of different places and distances.
Mount Fuji is a popular subject for Japanese art due to its cultural and religious significance. This belief can be traced to The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, where a goddess deposits the elixir of life on the peak. As Henry Smith explains, “Thus from an early time, Mt. Fuji was seen as the source of the secret of immortality, a tradition that was at the heart of Hokusai’s own obsession with the mountain.”
The most famous single image from the series is widely known in English as The Great Wave off Kanagawa (神奈川沖浪裏K).
Each of the images was made through a process whereby an image drawn on paper was used to guide the cutting of a wood block. This block was then covered with ink and applied to paper to create the image. The complexity of Hokusai’s images includes the wide range of colors he used, which required the use of a series of blocks for each of the colors used in the images.