Friday, October 1, 2021

Hokusai's Original Drawings

Original drawings by Hokusai (1760-1849) are rare, because most of them had to be destroyed in the process of making them into wood block prints.

This image shows the process of how they made prints by gluing the original drawings onto the block (far right), and cutting it away to make the relief block.

Fortunately there are a few surviving Hokusai drawings. He produced a collection of 103 hand-drawn works called The Great Picture Book of Everything. Those never-published drawings are normally kept in a precious box acquired recently the British Museum.

Virudhaka Struck by Lightning, by Hokusai, An illustration of the king 
Virudhaka from the series Banmotsu ehon daizen zu 

According to the British Museum, the set includes "wide-ranging subjects from depictions of religious, mythological, historical, and literary figures to animals, birds, flowers, and other natural phenomena, as well as landscapes. They are dominated by subjects that relate to ancient China and India, also Southeast and Central Asia. Many subjects found in the collection are not found in previous Hokusai works, including fascinating imaginings of the origin of human culture in ancient China."

The British Museum has released a YouTube video where curator Alfred Haft introduces the collection. The originals are now on view in a special exhibition in London through January 30, 2022.

Read more:
An illustrated catalog of Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything by the British Museum will be published on Nov. 30.
Hokusai on Wikipedia


Meera Rao said...

Ladt week saw the Hokusai Mad about painting at the Freer Gallery in DC - he is such a wonderful artist!!! Have been reading and watching about his works - can’t get enough!! Thank you for the link for the YouTube video!

Robert said...

So, it looks like Hokusai wasn't doing the carving himself?

He had a factory before Warhol made having a factory cool!