Artist: Hokusai Katsushika (1760 – 1849)
Title: Kirifuri Waterfall at Kurokami Mountain in Shimotsuke
Series: A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces
Publisher: Nishimuraya Yohachi
Dimensions: 25 x 35.7 cm
Hokusai’s waterfall series is a masterpiece of his. Designed by the artist when he was in his seventies, it depicts a selection of eight waterfalls that are located all-over Japan.
This print depicts Kirifuki waterfall in Kurakami mountain. It used to be located along the way to Nikko Tosho-Gu and travellers would stop by to see it on their way to shrines during the Edo period.
Several lines and marks in different tints of blue, skillfully printed right next to each other, are used to create the impression of powerfully rushing water. The waterfall stands out against the surrounding nature, but is also a part of it. Its winding lines are reminiscent of large tree roots.
The simplification of line, the almost illustrative quality of the image and the unusual composition are all representative of Ukiyo-e as a genre of art. These qualities, alongside with the, for the Western world, unusual subject matter have been an inspiration for other genres of art and artists world-wide. Art Nouveau and Van Gogh are famous examples thereof.