It’s early morning on a spring day and the sun, rising behind the observer, illuminates the snow-capped Mount Fuji (富士山). Three transport vessels oshiokuribune (押送船), carrying thirty rowers and passengers, are overwhelmed off the Kanagawa (神奈川) harbor by a large abnormal wave okinami (沖浪). To this dramatic representation have been given innumerable interpretations but, beyond all meanings, the fact is that nature appears as a violent force ready to swallow men, who in turn represent the secularity of life as opposed to the indifference and the religiosity of the sacred mountain, unperturbed, in the background.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa (神奈川沖浪裏), by Katsushika Hokusai (葛飾北斎), is not only the most famous print of the series “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji” (富嶽三十六景) but also, without a doubt, the ukiyo-e (浮世絵) work that best represents and celebrates Japanese art. «It is an image now entered the collective imagination of the whole world. In it enhances the power of nature; it emphasizes the art of man Hokusai, who instead is able to dominate nature, through an aggressive and majestic graphic sign and the choice of an elegant and not pervasive color» (Francesco Morena, Hokusai, 2007 Giunti Editore, p. 86).
The woodblock print on Japanese washi paper (和紙) is presented here in a precious edition of the 21st century made, as we read in the seal on the right margin, by the historic company Unsodo (芸艸堂) in Kyoto and is in very good condition.