Hokusai Katsushika, Asakusa Toshi no Ichi from Hokusai Booklet, New Year Traditions
Artist: Katsushika Hokusai (1760 - 1849)
Title: Asakusa Toshi no Ichi from Hokusai Booklet
Date: c. early 19th century
Size: (L) 26.3 x 15.4, (R) 26.3 x 16.7 cm
Original Japanese woodblock print.
Asakusa Toshi no Ichi is held every year in December and represents a special festival day for Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. It is known as the Hagoita Ichi (Battledore Fair) where gorgeous Kabuki-themed battledores are displayed and sold. During the Edo period (1603-1868), it was a large market selling mainly New Year's goods and auspicious items at the temple. Eventually, the battledores became the most prominent. When a customer buys a battledore, the seller claps three times and cheers for the customer's good luck. In this design, Hokusai captures the busy market around Asakusa, with visitors to the temple looking down at the stalls swamped with customers.
|Print Format||Double Page|
|Artist Name||Hokusai Katsushika|
|Title||Asakusa Toshi no Ichi from Hokusai Booklet|
|Subject||Male & Female, Landscapes, Others|
|Dimensions||(L) 26.3 x 15.4, (R) 26.3 x 16.7 cm|
|Condition Report||Some spots, minor creases, some binding holes and wormholes on the right panel.|
Katsushika Hokusai is considered to be one of the greatest artists not only by Japanese people, but by the entire art world. In the late 18th century, while prints of beautiful women (bijinga) and prints of actors (yakusha-e) were popular in the ukiyo-e world, Hokusai developed a new field in ukiyo-e, landscapes. He devoted almost all of his 90 years of life to drawing and painting. Never satisfied with one technique or mastering one style of drawing, he always sought to improve as an artist. In the mid-1810s, following his trip to the Kansai area, the first volume of Hokusai Manga was published. This series of sketchbooks consists of 15 volumes in total, covering a wide variety of subjects and is often referred to as a series of instructional drawing manuals intended to serve as a kind of textbooks for those who wanted to become artists.
In the early 1820s, Hokusai started working on the series “Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji” (Fugaku Sanjurokkei), which was finally published in 1830. It is certainly his most famous body of work and is often considered his best. The series actually consists of 46 images, including the “Great Wave at Kanagawa” (Kanagawa oki Namiura), “Fine Wind, Clear Weather” (Gaifu Kaisei) and “Rain Storm beneath the Summit” (Sanka Hakuu), which are known worldwide and are thought to have influenced French impressionists. His other famous series “Journeys to the Waterfalls in All Provinces” (Shokoku Taki Meguri) also appeared around this time period. In the mid-1830s, his illustrated book “One Hundred Views of Mt. Fuji” was published. Filled with depictions of the mountain in often dynamic compositions, this book, alongside “Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji”, established Hokusai as the ‘Mt. Fuji artist’.