South Wind, Clear Sky (Gaifū kaisei)

Katsushika Hokusai, 'South Wind, Clear Sky' (Gaifū kaisei) ['Red Fuji'], a colour woodblock print

Japan, AD 1830-33

From the series 'Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji' (Fugaku sanjū-rokkei)

It is said that when conditions are right in late summer or early autumn, with a wind from the south and a clear sky, the slopes of Fuji can appear dyed red by the rays of the rising sun.

This is the most abstracted composition and yet the most metereologically specific of Hokusai's series. The delicately hovering clouds part to form a halo around the summit veined with sparse remnants of snow. The lower regions are still in shadow and it is only the bare slopes above the tree-line that catch the sun, turning (in this impression) a bright, brick red. The three shades of blue in the sky seem like a mirror-reversal of the three colours on the mountain.

T. Clark, 100 views of Mount Fuji (London, The British Museum Press, 2001)



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