江戸の不二 (Fuji from Edo Castle)

Designer: Katsushika Hokusai | Carver: David Bull | Printer: Rei

Paper size: 15cm by 11cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [HC] ? | Currency: $ / £ /

Price: $ 40.00£ 32.25€ 36.75

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Description: This is a reproduction of one page from the famous book 'Fugaku Hyakkei' (100 Views of Mt. Fuji), designed by the illustrious Katsushika Hokusai, and published in Edo in 1835.

The object in the foreground is a shachihoko, a decorative object placed on the roof ridge of important buildings of the period. The creature has the body of a fish and the head of a tiger, and was said to protect the building from fire. This particular one - serving as the perch for a small sparrow - is one of a pair that was on the very highest roof of Edo Castle (now long gone …), and this brings a very interesting thought.

1835 is just about the time that the earliest experiments in photography were under way in Europe, and there is no way that Hokusai at that time could have ever conceived of such a thing as a photograph, or of a device for capturing images.

And yet look at this image - clearly showing the influence of photography! The only way to create such a balance between the shachi and the mountain is to stand well back and use a camera with a very long zoom lens. How could Hokusai have ever conceived of such a thing? Images created like this are commonplace for us these days, so most viewers of this print would not find it strange, but what an incredible impact it must have made on the typical Edo-era viewer!

But this is the very definition of genius, isn't it - to conceive of things never before thought possible ...

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