About the Art
Paintings that depict a single environment’s transition into a season were a distinctive Japanese convention. In "Tea House at Koishikawa", Hokusai captures a winter scene, as men and women look out across a snow-covered plain towards Mount Fuji.
Foreshadowing modern animation, a cartoon-like sheath of snow blankets the roofs of the houses.
Japanese painters sought to emphasise the cycle of change in nature in their art as a visual representation of their Buddhist beliefs., as an expression of the inevitability of change but also joyous celebration of the natural cycle of the seasons.
Though seemingly innocent, the characters may have lascivious intentions. During the Edo period (1603-1868) in which Hokusai worked, a ‘tea house’ was often a place where couples retreated for privacy, or where men could procure geishas. The steaming tea was purely incidental.