FUJI FROM GOTENYAMA (1830-32) is a part of the well-known Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji series by Hokusai, where the beautiful mountain’s captured from all sorts of perspectives in various seasons. In this particular piece of work, the snow-capped Mount Fuji and subtle pink color of Sakura flowers in the foreground suggest that it’s springtime.
There’re a lot of details going on in this piece of work. First of all, the unequal snow distribution on the mountain’s pretty interesting; the colder right side with accumulated snow’s facing the Yamanashi region while the relativity bare left side’s facing the Shizuoka region. This means the snow mostly remained on the North side of the mountain during spring, just like today.
Next, Hokusai has drawn the mountain from Gotenyama, a famous scenic Sakura flowers-viewing hill, which overlooked the Shinagawa Sea; traditional rooftops of Shinagawa estates could be observed on the bottom left. Unfortunately, the Gotenyama area of the Edo period was destroyed to make way for the construction of Odaiba by the Bakumatsu. Therefore, the Gotenyama that exists today is actually located slightly to the East than it used to be.
Also, the Sakura branches were long and narrow, which indicates that it’s not of the Somei Yoshino cherry variant that’s ubiquitous throughout Japan today; the one in Gotenyama originated from Mount Yoshino, Yamato, and was brought over and cultivated by Tokugawa Yoshimune, the eighth Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan. The pink accent gives a beautiful and peaceful tinge to this work. It’s so beautiful the three men on the bottom left were sitting down on a mat, enjoying food and alcohol while partaking in flower-viewing activities. From their hairstyles, they were probably doctors. On the right, it’s pretty lively with a crowd, but the two kids sleeping soundly on the backs of two ladies, shows that it’s rather peaceful. More humorously, the lady on the left’s seen inhaling powdered tobacco and her nostrils were dramatically emphasized by Hokusai. It’s indeed genius of Hokusai to capture all these tiny details with a touch of humor.
This amazing article written by Yeong!