荘子の夢 (Hokusai Philosopher)

Designer: Katsushika Hokusai | Carver: David Bull | Printer: Ayumi Miyashita

Size: 21.5cm by 14.5cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [M] ?

Price: $ 50.00£ 31.50€ 37.75

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Description: This print was included by David in his original Surimono Album (2), published back in 2000. That set is now (nearly) out of print, so the blocks are being used to make issues for the Mokuhankan catalogue. This version has been printed by Ayumi Miyashita, who has been training here at Mokuhankan since the early summer of 2012.

To introduce the design, perhaps it is easiest to quote the small story written by David for inclusion with the print in the original series:

"I went 'back to the books' again for this month's print - what you are seeing is a double-page spread taken from the book 'Hokusai Shashin Gafu' by Katsushika Hokusai. This book, first published in 1814, is an interesting puzzle for me - it is a collection of 15 images which appear with no accompanying text, and there seems to be no theme to the book; the illustrations cover a range of landscape, religious icon, flora and fauna, and 'snapshot' scenes of people caught in some activity. I have no idea at all how such a book was received back when it was published, or to whom it was aimed. There is nothing in our modern bookshops even remotely similar to this sort of thing - a selection of diverse images with no common thread, and no accompanying explanation. It doesn't seem to have been intended as a painting manual, and one can only assume that it was purchased by people who simply wanted to enjoy the prints ... maybe actually not so different from this Surimono Album!

At first glance, I wasn't quite sure what this particular image was supposed to represent, but a bit of reflection leads one to think of the Chinese philosopher Sôshi. Dreaming of butterflies one day, he awoke to wonder if he was a butterfly dreaming about being a man dreaming about butterflies ... but you know the story, I'm sure! What is not so easy for me to understand though, is just what that object in the background is ... a small container of some kind with a feather resting on the top of it. If anybody can solve this mystery for me, I would appreciate hearing from you!"

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