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Hokusai

Hodogaya On The Tōkaidō

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About the Art

Hodogaya was the 4th post-station on the Tokaido Highway, westward out of Edo.

At this point, travelers would finally feel the sensation of having put the metropolis of Edo behind them, upon reaching Hodogaya and seeing the road stretching into a beautiful avenue lined with pine trees on both sides.

Next the traveller would climb the Gonta-zaka incline towards provincial border of Musashi and Sagami at its top.

Certainly the traveller on the far right, heading east towards Edo, looks to be beginning his climb. He wears the distinctive garb of an itinerant monk, face obscured by a sedge hat and a bamboo flute held in his sash. On the right side of the sheet one can just make out a stone image of a deity carved into the rock-face of the hillside. The monk's face is tilted upwards, gazing at it.

The travellers and their horse show evidence of their recent exertions over the hill, as the palanquin bearers rest to mop a brow and re-tie a sandal. The only one admiring the view of Fuji is the man leading the horse, pointing his herding stick towards the mountain.

The trademark and seal of the publisher, Nishimuraya infiltrate the design as motifs on the horse-blankets. This Easter egg play can also be found in several other prints in the series.

The swaying pines seem almost to part graciously, to allow us an unobstructed view of Mount Fuji. The shapes pine needle clusters almost look like Fuji-shaped clouds dotted across the sky.

The horse with its drooping head and tail, and the rider with his white hat combine to form another Fuji in the foreground. Hokusai set up these formal resonances within his compositions regularly, and playfully.

"When one travels on foot along a course near a big mountain, one has the feeling that progress is slowed by the overwhelming immobility of the mountain that seems to be eternally watching.

This sensation is lyrically expressed in this print. Fuji's immobility is emphasized in contrast to the gentle rhythm of the row of pine trees and the crawling pace of the travelers."
- Metmuseum.org

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      • Fade resistant paper and canvas materials, with a matte finish for an authentic look

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