Hokusai

Surugadai In Edo - Framed & Mounted Print

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About the Art

Sundai (modern Surugadai in the Kanda district of Tokyo) was a residential area largely dedicated to the Shogun's retainers and their mansions.

Due to its elevated situation, the residents enjoyed a sumptuos view over the city of Edo and beyond to Mount Fuji.

The print is dominated by a rising slope on the left, with the roof of a residence prominently occupying the lower right corner partially blocking the view of the volcano.

People of various social classes travel along the road next to the house; we see a samurai accompanied by three servants in the lower left, and a pilgrim dressed in white at the center.

As he often did, Hokusai did not spare the minute details – facial features, clothing designs, gestures, as well as trees, bushes, and tiled roofs are all rendered carefully. Despite this, he doesn't sacrifice the clarity of the design and composition.

Hokusai employs dots and heavy shading to illustrate the swell of the earth. These techniques, together with the compact lines and pronounced curves of the trees were inherited from Chinese painting, which Hokusai carefully studied throughout his life. 

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