Katsushika Hokusai, ‘A Journey to the Waterfalls in All the Provinces: Horse-Washing Falls’, ca. 1832, Scholten Japanese Art

two men wash their horse in the falls at Yoshino in Yamato Province (present day Nara prefecture); signed zen Hokusai Iitsu hitsu, with censor's seal kiwame, publisher's seal Eijudo (Nishimuraya Yohachi), ca. 1832

A more complete translation of this print title is Yoshino Waterfall, Where Yoshitsune Washed his Horse, which is often shortened to 'Horse Washing Falls.' According to legend, the famous general, Minamoto no Yoshitsune (1159-89) stopped at this waterfall to wash his horse during one of his campaigns. Hokusai alludes to this legend, but instead of a great warrior, two commoners attend to the duty of horse-washing.

Image rights: Scholten Japanese Art

Publisher: Eijudo (Nishimuraya Yohachi)

Matthi Forrer with texts by Edmond de Goncourt, Hokusai, 1988, p. 268, no. 305
Richard Lane, Hokusai: Life and Work, 1989, p. 205
Matthi Forrer, Hokusai: Prints and Drawings, 1991, no. 46
Seiji Nagata, Hokusai: Genius of the Japanese Ukiyo-e, 1995, p. 47, no. 45
Gian Carlo Calza, Hokusai: Il vecchio pazzo per la pittura, 1999, p. 345, no. V48.7
Giani Carlo Calza, Hokusai, 2003, p. 331, v.48.7

About Katsushika Hokusai

Adhering to a common Japanese practice with extreme frequency, Katsushika Hokusai transitioned between upwards of 30 pseudonyms throughout his career, each correlating to a different period or style. Despite the many changes, his surname prevails—Hokusai—which unites the surplus of monikers into a single legacy for the artist, printmaker, and ukiyo-e painter. In his early work, Hokusai depicted the traditional subject matter of ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings, Kabuki actors; however, he monumentally revolutionized the medium by shifting his focus to landscapes and images of daily life in Japan. Hokusai is best-known for his woodblock series, “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” (1831), which mastered the landscape while exploring the relationship between man and environment, and contained the The Great Wave off Kanagawa, which remains one of the most universally recognized icons of Japanese art.

Japanese, 1760-1849, Tokyo, Japan, based in Tokyo, Japan