japanese wood prints


Katsushika Hokusai’s woodblock print The Great Wave off Kanagawa is one of the most famous (if not the most famous) works of Japanese art in existence. However, many are unaware that the piece is actually part of a larger set. 

Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji is Hokusai’s exploration of Fuji and the context around it. Every piece depicts Mount Fuji from a different place within Japan. In The Great Wave, Fuji can be seen in the distance just underneath where the wave is about to crash down. Every piece reveals a little piece of life in Japan - a little piece of Japanese history. Originally, only thirty-six (36) prints were created, but due to their popularity another ten were later added, bringing the total number of prints up to forty-six (46).

The first ten images of the series are above. In order, they are titled:

  1. The Great Wave off Kanagawa
  2. South Wind, Clear Sky (also known as Red Fuji)
  3. Rainstorm Beneath the Summit
  4. Under Mannen Bridge at Fukagawa
  5. Sundai, Edo
  6. Cusion Pine at Aoyama
  7. Senju, Musashi Province
  8. Inume Pass, Kooshuu
  9. Fuji View Field in Owari Province
  10. Ejiri in Surugara Province (my personal favorite!!!)

Nanchohoki  - book depicting various wagashi.

Creator: Namura Johaku

During the Edo period (1603–1868), sweets production expanded and developed.
Edo period documents mention the names of many different sweets.
During tea gatherings, cultivated men were expected to be able to hear the name of a sweet and immediately grasp all the nuances and implications of the name.

Collection of the Tsukuba University Library / NHK Educational


Martin Scorsese’s  Four-story residence in NY.

Photo # 1

The living room.
Original movie posters adorn nearly every wall of the four-story residence of Martin Scorsese, the director of such films as Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980) and The Aviator (2004). N. Brodsky’s 1937 graphic image for La Grande Illusion hangs in the living room.

Photo # 2

The living room.
Scorsese views his collection of 16-mm film on the projector in the living room. The poster for Renoir’s Le Carrosse d’Or is from 1953. On the mantel are 19th-century Japanese stirrups from actor Ken Takakura.

Photo # 3

The desk in the living room.
The research done by Scorsese’s staff for The Age of Innocence (1993) gave the director “a greater feeling for Victorian pieces and antiques,” notes interior designer Karen Houghton. She divided the second-floor living room into two spaces. Above the circa 1850 English desk are 19th-century Japanese wood-block prints from Akira Kurosawa.

Photo # 4

One of the director’s vintage movie posters.
The fantasy of Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête is portrayed in Jean-Denis Malclé’s 1946 poster. Scorsese has been buying vintage movie posters since 1968.

Photo # 5

The dining room.
In the dining room is Bernard Lancy’s poster for Les Enfants du Paradis. “I would never just buy a beautiful poster if I didn’t know the film,” Scorsese says. “It has to be an extraordinary film, with a special meaning for me.” The 1870 dining table is French.

Photo # 6

The rear garden of the townhouse.
The garden is off the dining room. “I’m not much of a gardener,” says Scorsese. “In the tenements I came from we didn’t have much room, although those big basil plants did pretty well on the fire escapes.”

Photography by Durston Saylor

“Although I knew that Japanese comics were called manga, I would have said that a comic was a comic no matter what you named it. At Forbidden Planet I slowly began to understand that I was wrong. The first and most obvious difference in Japanese comics is the broadness of subject matter, from saccharine stories featuring little big-eyed girls to the dense and serious works of Osamu Tezuka, although this is not something one discovers in a single Saturday morning. What was immediately obvious was the startlingly graphic nature of manga which, in its clarity of line and dramatic blocky forms, echoed the Japanese wood-block prints of the nineteenth century.”
– Peter Carey, Wrong About Japan


This piece of art in Hannibal’s bedroom is called Two Women and a Porter at a Shrine on the Tokaido Road.

(Yes, of course I was in this scene examining the walls and not at all oggling that massive and masculine bare chest of Mads Mikkelsen covered with black and pepper curls just making you want to… uh, where was I? Painting, right?)

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to google-fu more information about this piece than that it is a Japanese Wood-Cut Print and its reconstruction can be bought from many websites


All descriptions of paintings in Hannibal are here.