- Museum number
- Object: Fugaku hyakkei 富嶽百景 (One Hundred Views of Mt. Fuji)
Illustrated book, Vol. 2 of three volumes. Landscapes with Mt. Fuji. Woodblock-printed. First editions of vols 1 and 2 with pink covers and the stylized falcon-feather title slip. Signed and sealed.
- Production date
Height: 22.70 centimetres (covers)
Width: 15.70 centimetres (covers)
- Curator's comments
Throughout the Edo period there was rivalry for control of the calendar (and its reform) between the traditionalists associated with the imperial court in Kyoto and Shogunal advisers in Edo, who were more open to the influence of Western astronomy. The Shogunal observatory in Edo moved from the Ushigome district to Torigoe, in the Asakusa district in 1782, and on to Kudan-zaka in 1842. Implausibly, Hokusai has put a table-top orrery onto the roof of the observatory and enlarged it, so as contrast the geometry of its circles and ellipses with the curving slopes on Mt. Fuji. (Label copy, TTC 2000)
Hillier and Smith 1980
Acknowledged as one of the supreme illustrated books of Japan and, with the 'Manga' (1979, 0305, 0428), the most influential in the West. The first editions of each of the first two volumes, because of title slips printed with a falcon's feather, are known as the 'Falcon Feather' editions. The third volume, issued much later by a different publisher, does not match the earlier volumes in refinement of black and white printing.
Brown, Louise Norton, 'Block Printing and Book Illustration in Japan', London and New York, 1924, pp. 179, 183.
Dickins, F V, 'Fugaku hiyaku-kei or A Hundred Views of Fuji (Fusiyama): by Hokusai', London, 1880.
Hillier, J, 'One Hundred Views of Fuji', New York, 1958, Introduction.
Toda, Kenji, 'Descriptive Catalogue of the Japanese and Chinese Illustrated Books in the Ryerson Library of the Art Institute of Chicago', Chicago, 1931, p. 362.
It is generally assumed that by the time of publication of the first volume of this trilogy in 1834 Hokusai's famous series 'Thirty-Six Views of Mt Fuji' (cats 45-70 and 101-20), with ten supplementary views of the 'Fuji from the rear' ('ura-Fuji'), had already been issued in full. The original publisher's advertisement of 1831 for that series had prophesied 'If carved progressively in this manner, they should even exceed one hundred. They are not limited to thirty-six' (see p. 45). Even after the completion of forty-six colour print views, therefore, it seems that Hokusai was still full of ideas for continuing his artistic and spiritual exploration of the phenomenon of the mountain, and these took the form of the present illustrated book in three volumes, printed in black and grey. The first two volumes (with pink covers and the stylized falcon-feather title slip) were jointly issued by a group of four publishers which included Nishimuraya Yohachi, who had issued the colour print series, and what must be a related firm, Nishimura Sukezo, at the same address in Bakuro-cho, 2-chome. Also involved was Eirakuya Toshiro of Nagoya, publisher of the 'Hokusai manga'. There is debate about the date and circumstances of publication of volume three of 'One Hundred Views of Mt Fuji'. At present the earliest imprints known are undated and issued by Eirakuya of Nagoya, and the quality of the printing of the grey blocks is decidedly inferior to volumes one and two. Here the traditional dating of 1849, the year of Hokusai's death, is given, though some argue for a date several years earlier.
In his essay and comprehensive commentaries on 'One Hundred Views of Mt Fuji', Henry Smith stresses the spiritual as well as artistic dimension of the project, demonstrating how Hokusai regarded Fuji as a powerful reservoir of immortality that would assist him in his personal quest to live beyond one hundred years of age and fathom ultimate artistic truths (Henry D. Smith II, 'Hokusai: One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji', New York, Braziller & London, Thames & Hudson, 1988). This is the first major project in which Hokusai used the name Manji (written with a character symbolizing long-life, or 'one hundred times one hundred') and it is worth quoting again in full the famous printed 'manifesto' by him that is appended to that signature:
From the age of six, I had a penchant for copying the form of things, and from about fifty, my pictures were frequently published; but until the age of seventy, nothing that I drew was worthy of notice. At seventy-three years, I was somewhat able to fathom the growth of plants and trees, and the structure of birds, animals, insects and fish. Thus when I reach eighty years, I hope to have made increasing progress, and at ninety to see further into the underlying principles of things, so that at one hundred years I will have achieved a divine state in my art, and at one hundred and ten, every dot and every stroke will be as though alive. Those of you who live long enough, bear witness that these words of mine prove not false ('Ibid.', p. 7).
Hokusai was about seventy when he commenced 'Thirty-Six Views of Mt Fuji' and about seventy-three when he embarked on 'One Hundred Views of Mt Fuji'. Overall there are relatively few 'place-specific' designs - in contrast to the print series - and much wonderful contrivance in the orchestration of the compositions. The preface to volume three refers to them as 'eccentric' ('ki') in comparison to the earlier example of Kawamura Minsetsu's 'One Hundred Fujis' ('Hyaku Fuji', 1767-71) (see p. 20, fig. 8), which are 'orthodox' ('sei') (As pointed out by Smith, 'ibid.', p. 14). Much is contributed to the success of the designs by the extremely fine cutting by the workshop of Egawa Tomekichi and the exquisite gradation of the printing of the grey blocks. Illustrated here are: 'The Appearance of Mt Fuji in the Fifth Year of Korei [286 BC]' ('Korei gonen Fuji-mine shutsugen', vol. 1); 'Fuji from the sea' ('Kaijo no Fuji', vol. 2; compare to Hiroshige, cat. 86); and 'Fuji in Deep Snow' ('Shinsetsu no Fuji', vol. 3).
A very early translation of and commentary on 'One Hundred Views of Mt Fuji' was published by Frederick Dickins in 1880. The most authoritative Japanese commentary is that made by Suzuki Juzo in 1986, just before the very thorough, fully illustrated English-language publication of 1988 by Henry D. Smith II already referred to (Frederick V. Dickins, 'Fugaku Hiyaku-kei, or A Hundred Views of Fuji (Fusiyama) by Hokusai', London, B.T. Batsford, 1880; a copy is in the library of the Department of Japanese Antiquities, The British Museum; Suzuki Juzo, 'Katsushika Hokusai Fugaku hyakkei', Tokyo, Iwasaki Bijutsu, 1986 (a revision of 'Fugaku hyakkei kaisetsu' from the same publisher in 1972)).
Hillier, Jack and Lawrence Smith. 'Japanese Prints: 300 Years of Albums and Books'. London, British Museum Press, 1980, no. 110.
Ueno no Mori Bijutsukan, eds. 'Daiei Hakubutsukan shozo ukiyo-e meisaku ten'. Tokyo, 1985, [illustratedbook] no. 51.
Hillier, Jack. 'The Art of the Japanese Book'. 2 vols. London, Sotheby's Publications, 1987, nos 580-85.
Smith, Henry D. II. 'Hokusai: One Hundred Views of Mt Fuji'. New York, Braziller and London, Thames & Hudson, 1988, [illustrated book] no. 51.
Smith et al 1990
Following the tremendous success of his series of colour prints 'Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji' ('Fugaku sanjurokkei', c. 1829-32) - which was actually extended by a further ten designs - Hokusai went on to design 102 more views of the sacred peak. These were issued as a book in three volumes published in 1834, 1835 and finally completed in c. 1849. The illustrations in fine black line and several shades of grey were printed from blocks cut by the workshop of the master carver Egawa Tomekichi. Though the link with the 'Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji' (no. 219) is clear, the 'One Hundred Views' have a much less well-defined sense of topography and a much wider range of cleverly contrived compositions.
Smith, Henry (ed.), 'Hokusai: One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji', London, 1988.
Ueno Royal Museum (Ueno no Mori Bijutsukan), 'Daiei Hakubutsukan shozo ukiyo-e meisakuten', ed. Narazaki Muneshige, Tokyo, 1985, no. 51.
Just a few years after his famous print ‘The Great
Wave’ (cat. 51), Hokusai produced a variation of the
subject in this illustrated book, One Hundred Views of Mt
Fuji (see also cats 176–182). Here, however, there is no
human presence, rather a flock of plovers that suggest
spray from the waves. Although the wave does not rear
over us so threateningly, the tentacles of foam are
coiled even more extravagantly than in ‘The Great
Wave’ – a technical tour de force from block cutter
Chōhyaku, whose name appears in the margin, bottom
right. Chōhyaku is one of six named cutters who
worked on this volume, under the direction of master
cutter Egawa Tomekichi (worked 1820–1830s).
Conservation Credit Line: Conservation of this book was supported by the Toshiba International Foundation
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2000 24 Mar-26 Jun, London, BM, Japanese Galleries, 'Japan Time'
2001 11 May-29 Jul, London, BM, Japanese Galleries, '100 Views of Mount Fuji'
2010 19 Oct-2011 14 Feb, London, BM, Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from Prehistory to the Present'
2017 25 May - 13 Aug, London, BM, G35, Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave
2017 6 Oct - 19 Nov, Osaka, Abeno Harukas Art Museum
2022 16 Apr-12 Jun, Tokyo, Suntory Museum of Art, Hokusai from the British Museum
- Acquisition date
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Previous owner/ex-collection number: JH.454 (Hillier no.)