Rare 19th Century Japanese Woodblock Print by Katsushika Hokusai

19th Century, after 1816
Image: 24cm x 18cm
Frame: 35cm x 30cm
Standard Parcel
A rare print by Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849). It comes from volume 5 of his Transmitting the Spirit, Revealing the Form of Things: Hokusai Sketchbooks (Denshin kaishu: Hokusai manga, gohen) which is held in the Smithsonian Library and The Metropolitan Museum
The Met museum book dates from 1816. This print may be slightly later as the broken lines suggest wear on the wooden block. The two pages have been trimmed to join them together without the black border. The border on the other sides is just visible under the mount. Although the print has become a bit faded, the pink highlights are still visible and the condition of the paper is good. The print has been mounted in a relatively modern black frame.
Hokusai is probably now the best-known ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period. He is famous for his woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (1831) which includes the internationally iconic print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa. The Great Wave print was included in the British Museum’s recent ‘A History of the World in 100 Objects‘ exhibition.
The term Manga evolved in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The light-hearted Japanese style of sketching translates literally as ‘letting the brush run away with itself‘. Such works were generally reproduced in the form of woodblock printed illustrated books. From the early 1900s, this art form developed into a newspaper cartoon or story book with equal pictures and text, and into later anime.