Asian Art
Artist: Katsushika Hokusai, Japanese, 1760–1849

Reflection of Fuji in Lake Misaka in Kai Province, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji

ca. 1831

Ukiyo-e: polychrome woodblock print, blue key block

sheet: 10 1/4 × 15 1/16 in. (26 × 38.2 cm)
Frances Gaylord Smith Collection

葛飾北斎 「富嶽三十六景 甲州三坂水面」 浮世絵錦絵 江戸時代

This print departs from the typical flat, symbolic depiction of Mount Fuji and instead illustrates a three-dimensional terrain. The Fuji reflected on the surface of the lake, however, shows the snow-capped summit with a smooth surface, larger than the actual mountain. Katsushika Hokusai urges us to ask what is real and what is unreal, like a Zen riddle. This is one of the twenty earliest images of Mount Fuji made by Hokusai around 1830–31. He made another twenty-six views of the mountain using the usual black key block in 1833–34. His rival, Andō Hiroshige, who was thirty-seven years younger than Hokusai, published his series

Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō in 1832–35. Before these two masters established the landscape tradition in printing in the 1830s, ukiyo-e works usually depicted human figures, such as beautiful women and famous Kabuki actors, as well as birds and plants.
Edo period (1615–1868)
Works on Paper - Prints

Frances Gaylord Smith (Mrs. George T. Smith) Collection; by descent to nephew Gaylord Donnelley (1910–1992) and Dorothy Ranney Donnelley (1910–2002); loaned in 1969, and given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1972


Louisa Cunningham, The Spirit of Place: Japanese Paintings and Prints of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1984), 3, 41–42, no. 11, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.