Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami ura), also known as the Great Wave, from the series "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjurokkei)"

A crashing wave looms over two small ships, Mount Fuji in the background.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A crashing wave looms over two small ships, Mount Fuji in the background.

Date:

c. 1830/33

Artist:

Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾 北斎
Japanese, 1760-1849

About this artwork

In the early nineteenth century, the pigment known as Berlin or Prussian blue (bero) became more widely available and affordable, inspiring a new flourishing of landscape imagery in print design that could make the most of the strong color. Produced between the late 1820s and early 1830s, Hokusai’s series of prints studying the ancient pilgrimage site of Mount Fuji is among the most celebrated and majestic art of the nineteenth century. Whether the volcano is visually dominant, as in many of the prints, or reduced in scale, as it is here, the series is a virtuoso display of Hokusai’s compositional skill. With its bold linear design, striking juxtapositions, and careful use of color, The Great Wave is a compelling image of the mountain. Not only do the surging breakers seem to swamp the boaters, but—to the Japanese eye, accustomed to reading from right to left—the great claw of a wave appears almost to tumble into the viewer’s face. Even Mount Fuji appears fragile, about to be engulfed by the uncontrollable energy of the water. This iconic image has been used widely in contemporary designs, ranging from comics and advertisements to book jackets and record covers.

Currently Off View

Asian Art

Artist

Katsushika Hokusai

Title

Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami ura), also known as the Great Wave, from the series "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjurokkei)"

Origin

Japan

Date

1826–1836

Medium

Color woodblock print; oban

Inscriptions

Signature: Hokusai aratame Iitsu fude Publisher: Nishimura-ya Yohachi

Dimensions

25.4 × 37.6 cm (10 × 14 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Clarence Buckingham Collection

Reference Number

1925.3245

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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