Hokusai

hokusai - Umezawa Manor in Sagami Province Umezawa Manor in Sagami Province from Thirty-six Views of Mt Fuji
Yesterday we were kindly invited by a Japanese client to dinner at their apartment. It was a highly enjoyable evening – including some great Dassai sake – and we were treated to a tea ceremony to end the evening by our host.  Suffice to say, the British tea drinking tradition of dunking a tea-bag into hot water doesn’t quite match up.
We discussed a number of topics, though generally with a common Japan-related theme.
From the dinner I realised that I’d missed the discussion of Hokusai’s life and work on the recent In Our Time programme on Radio 4.  I hadn’t previously known that Hokusai took 30 professional names in his life, or that The Great Wave off Kanagawa – the most reproduced image in the world – came to be made largely due to technological and commercial pressures. Hokusai’s publisher suggested developing prints using a new Prussian blue pigment which had become widely available and had fallen in price.
There is a forthcoming  Hokusai Exhibition at the British Museum beginning 25 May.  I’m sure we’ll visit.

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