- Museum number
Object: Onden no suisha 隠田乃水車 (Waterwheel at Onden)
Series: Fugaku sanjurokkei 冨嶽三十六景 (Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji)
Colour woodblock oban print. Two men ascending slope carrying sacks of grain; two women next to mill-race, holding wooden bucket and washing leaves in basket; young boy with pet terrapin on string glancing at view; Mt Fuji in distance. 1 of 2 impressions. Inscribed, signed and sealed.
- Production date
Height: 25.10 centimetres
Width: 37.90 centimetres
- Curator's comments
A repeating theme of the series is the juxtaposition of the preoccupied world of human work in the foreground with unchanging Fuji as a distant vista, exemplified in this design of a mill with waterwheel at Onden on the western outskirts of Edo. Hokusai's evident empathy with the ordinary lives he depicts must have been one important reason for the success of the series as a whole. Maps show Onden as located behind Zenko-ji Temple in the Aoyama district of the city; surrounded by largely open fields, with the occasional subsidiary residence of a feudal lord. Kobayashi notes that waterwheels dotted the area, powered by the waters of the Shibuya River (UT 1975, no. 26).
Two men ascend a slope carrying sacks of grain to be milled, while two women perform tasks next to the mill-race - one holds a wooden bucket and the other appears to wash leaves in a basket. Only the young boy, pulling behind him an uncooperative pet terrapin on a string, has the leisure to glance at the view. Hokusai is at pains to show the developing cascades of water generated by the turning wheel.
Most impressions have similar colouring (another, heavily trimmed impression is in the British Museum collection, 1906.12-20.0531), the only major difference being the presence or absence of the red censorship seal and publisher's seal to the right of the signature. The impression reproduced in White 1998, no. 31, unusually, preserves its margins on three sides.
'Ukiyo-e taikei, vol. 13: Fugaku sanju-rokkei', Tokyo, Shueisha, 1975 (text by Kobayashi Tadashi), no. 26.
'Meihin soroimono ukiyo-e, vol. 8: Hokusai I', Tokyo, Gyosei, 1991 (text by Nagata Seiji), no. 9.
Julia White, 'et al.', 'Hokusai and Hiroshige: Great Japanese Prints from the James A. Michener Collection, Honolulu Academy of Arts', Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1998 (commentaries by Yoko Woodson), no. 31.
Two men carry sacks of grain up towards a mill, where
two women are busy next to the mill race. Work is
given priority, and only the small boy tugging his
obdurate terrapin on a string has the time to gaze at
Mt Fuji. Hokusai is careful to delineate how the
gurgling water starts to cascade as the waterwheel
turns. Onden was a farming village with many
waterwheels on the Shibuya river; it is now the bustling
Harajuku and Jingūmae districts of Tokyo.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001, 11 May-29 Jul, BM Japanese Galleries, '100 Views of Mount Fuji'
2017 25 May - 2 July, London, BM, G35, Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave
2017 6 Oct - 19 Nov, Osaka, Abeno Harukas Art Museum
- Acquisition date
- Registration number