Under the Great Wave, off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami ura)
This print is part of Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, a series made when artist Katsushika Hokusai was in his seventies. The series was so successful that Hokusai produced 10 additional scenes after the first 36 prints. Appreciated in their own time in Japan and in other countries for their innovative composition and vibrant color, these works are the result of Hokusai’s experiments with representing nature and his innovative use of the synthetic pigment Prussian blue. The elements of water and earth are the dominant subjects of this print. Mount Fuji, still and stable in the background, counters the dynamic power of the great wave, and the humans in the barges in the foreground, possibly carrying fish, seem fragile and vulnerable. The title lets us know that this is a real place: Kanagawa is a prefecture (or province) of Japan along the coast near Mount Fuji.
Gift of Mrs. Gustav Radeke
Katsushika Hokusai, Nishimuraya Yohachi (publisher)
Polychrome wood block print
This object is in the public domain (CC0 1.0).