Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji: A Deluxe New Art Book Presents Hokusai’s Masterpiece, Including “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa”

Like most Japan­ese mas­ters of ukiyo‑e wood­block art, Kat­sushi­ka Hoku­sai is best known monony­mous­ly. But he’s even bet­ter known by his work — and by one piece of work in par­tic­u­lar, The Great Wave off Kana­gawa. Even those who’ve nev­er heard the name Hoku­sai have seen that print, arrest­ing in its some­how calm tur­bu­lence, or at least they’ve seen one of its count­less mod­ern par­o­dies and trib­utes (most recent­ly, a large-scale homage in the medi­um of LEGO). But when he died in 1849, the pro­lif­ic and long-lived artist left behind a body of work amount­ing to more than 30,000 paint­ings, sketch­es, prints, and illus­tra­tions (as well as a how-to-draw book).

None of those 30,000 works are quite as famous as his Great Wave off Kana­gawa, but very few indeed are as ambi­tions as the series to which it belongs, Thir­ty-Six Views of Mount Fuji. It is that two-year project, the artis­tic fruit of an obses­sion with Fuji and its envi­rons, that Taschen has tak­en as the mate­r­i­al for their new book Hoku­sai: Thir­ty-six Views of Mount Fuji.

Pro­duced in a 224-page “XXL edi­tion,” it gath­ers “the finest impres­sions from insti­tu­tions and col­lec­tions world­wide in the com­plete set of 46 plates along­side 114 col­or vari­a­tions” — all sewn togeth­er, appro­pri­ate­ly, with “Japan­ese bind­ing.”

Not only does the book repro­duce Thir­ty-six Views of Mount Fuji with Taschen’s sig­na­ture atten­tion to image qual­i­ty, it presents The Great Wave off Kana­gawa in a way few actu­al­ly see it: in con­text. For that most wide­ly pub­lished of all Hoku­sai prints launched the series, which con­tin­ued on to Fine Wind, Clear Morn­ing, Thun­der­storm Beneath the Sum­mit, and Kajikaza­wa in Kai Province, that last being an image held in espe­cial­ly high esteem by ukiyo‑e enthu­si­asts. One such enthu­si­ast, east Asian art his­to­ri­an Andreas Marks, has per­formed this book’s edit­ing and writ­ing, as he did with Taschen’s pre­vi­ous Japan­ese Wood­block Prints (1680–1938). Expe­ri­enc­ing the whole of Thir­ty-six Views of Mount Fuji, more than one read­er will no doubt become as trans­fixed by Hoku­sai as Hoku­sai was by his home­land’s most beloved moun­tain. You can pick up a copy of Hoku­sai: Thir­ty-six Views of Mount Fuji here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Great Wave off Kana­gawa by Hoku­sai: An Intro­duc­tion to the Icon­ic Japan­ese Wood­block Print in 17 Min­utes

The Evo­lu­tion of The Great Wave off Kanaza­wa: See Four Ver­sions That Hoku­sai Paint­ed Over Near­ly 40 Years

The Met Puts 650+ Japan­ese Illus­trat­ed Books Online: Mar­vel at Hokusai’s One Hun­dred Views of Mount Fuji and More

Get Free Draw­ing Lessons from Kat­sushi­ka Hoku­sai, Who Famous­ly Paint­ed The Great Wave off Kana­gawa: Read His How-To Book, Quick Lessons in Sim­pli­fied Draw­ings

A Beau­ti­ful New Book of Japan­ese Wood­block Prints: A Visu­al His­to­ry of 200 Japan­ese Mas­ter­pieces Cre­at­ed Between 1680 and 1938

See Clas­sic Japan­ese Wood­blocks Brought Sur­re­al­ly to Life as Ani­mat­ed GIFs

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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  • Kim bloodworth says:

    I have one of the 36 views of my fuji.its the one with two peo­ple net­ting fish­ing huge jetti(well one is net­ting the oth­er seems to be mend­ing a net) I would like to know how to get con­fir­ma­tion of its authen­tic­i­ty. I know its worthy,but how do I val­i­date?

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