View full screen - View 1 of Lot 37. KATSUSHIKA HOKUSAI (1760-1849)  POEM BY KANKE (SUGAWARA MICHIZANE) |  EDO PERIOD, 19TH CENTURY.
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KATSUSHIKA HOKUSAI (1760-1849) POEM BY KANKE (SUGAWARA MICHIZANE) | EDO PERIOD, 19TH CENTURY

KATSUSHIKA HOKUSAI (1760-1849) POEM BY KANKE (SUGAWARA MICHIZANE) | EDO PERIOD, 19TH CENTURY

KATSUSHIKA HOKUSAI (1760-1849) POEM BY KANKE (SUGAWARA MICHIZANE) | EDO PERIOD, 19TH CENTURY

KATSUSHIKA HOKUSAI (1760-1849) 

EDO PERIOD, 19TH CENTURY

 POEM BY KANKE (SUGAWARA MICHIZANE)


woodblock print, from the series The Hundred Poems [By the Hundred Poets] as Told by the Nurse (Hyakunin isshu uba ga etoki), signed saki no Hokusai manji, published by Iseya Sanjiro (Eijudo), censor's seal kiwame, circa 1835-36

Horizontal oban:

24.9 x 36.7 cm, 9⅞ x 14½ in.


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Good impression and colour, sight toning, slight retouching to top left-hand corner, tape residue to verso, red Sakai seal


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Timothy Clark, Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave (London, 2017), n. 140

S. Nagata, Hokusai Museum (Hokusai Bijutsukan): Tales (Monogatari-e), vol. 5, 2nd ed.(Tokyo, 1990), pl. 143

W. Crothers, T. Kobayashi and J. Berndt, Hokusai, NGV International, Melbourne, 21 July- 15 October 2017, exhib. cat. (Melbourne, 2017)

Hokusai, National Gallery of Victoria International, Melbourne, 21 July - 15 October 2017

For his last single sheet series of woodblock prints, One Hundred Poems Explained by the Nurse (Hyakunin isshu uba ga etoki), Katshushika Hokusai looked to an anthology of well-known poems, entitled Hyakunin Isshu (A Hundred Poems by a Hundred Poets), as his source. These poems, based on love and melancholy, were assembled by the thirteenth-century poet Fujiawara no Teika. Hokusai chose to visually recount the poems from the perspective of a fictional elderly nurse. Together with sixty-four preparatory drawings, twenty-seven published prints are known, each exhibiting bold colour and including a cartouche enclosing the relevant verse. The series was commissioned by the publisher Nishimura Yohachi and his firm Eijudo successfully issued five prints before closing down; the additional twenty-two prints were then published by Iseya Sanjiro’s firm Iseri, with the original Eijudo seal continuing to be employed.


The poem in this print is by Kanke, also known as Sugawara Michizane (844-903):


Kono tabi wa

nusa mo toriaezu

Tamuke yama

momiji no nishiki

kami no manimani


At the present time

since no offering could I bring

Behold Mt Tamuke-

a brocade of red leaves

for the pleasure of the gods.


In this print, Hokusai depicted two individual narratives, both pertaining to the poet. The first is Kanke’s narrative, which describes how on a journey with Emperor Uda, whilst stopping at a Shinto shrine, he beheld the falling leaves of a maple tree over Mount Tamuke. Hokusai placed this story to the left-hand side of the print, depicting the Emperor’s magnificently decorated cart beside the entrance to the shrine. The second stems from a legendary description of Kanke’s funeral, which relays how, during the procession, the ox pulling the funeral cart lay down and as an act of mourning and defiance, refused to continue. Hokusai set this story to the right-hand side of the print and depicted the ox, covered in an elaborate textile, resting on the ground.


For a similar impression in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, see accession no. JP5.