Katsushika Hokusai, ‘Wondrous Views of Famous Bridges in All the Provinces: Kintai Bridge, Suo Province’, ca. 1834, Scholten Japanese Art

travelers bow under a light rain as they cross the repeating arches of the Kintai Bridge, in the distance low clouds begin to obscure a mountain; signed zen Hokusai Iitsu hitsu, with publisher's seal Eijudo (Nishimura Yohachi) and censor's kiwame seal, ca. 1834.
oban yoko-e 10 by 14 1/2 in., 25.3 by 36.7 cm
There are only eleven known designs for this series illustrating famous bridges. The Kintai-bashi, or 'Bridge of the Brocade Sash,' spanning the Nishikigawa (Brocade River) in Iwakuni was built by Kikkawa Hiroyoshi in 1673. Comprised of four stone pilings and five arches, the bridge was engineered to withstand annual flooding that had destroyed earlier wood versions; it survived until 1950 when it was destroyed in a typhoon. The building on the opposite bank is the mansion of the Kikkawa clan, the daimyo of Iwakuni. A retainer accompanying a samurai beneath an umbrella on the second arch heading towards the Kikkawa mansion carries a standard that is in the distinctive diamond shape of Eijudo's publisher seal.

Series: Wondrous Views of Famous Bridges in All the Provinces

Image rights: Scholten Japanese Art

Publisher: Nishimura Yohachi

J. Hillier, Hokusai: Paintings, Drawings and Woodcuts, 1955, no. 66
Seiji Nagata, Hokusai: Genius of the Japanese Ukiyo-e, 1995, p. 48, no. 46
Gian Carlo Calza, Hokusai: Il vecchio pazzo per la pittura, 1999, p. 340, no. V.47.9
Gian Carlo Calza, Hokusai, 2003, p. 284, no. v.47.9
Mathew Welch & Yuiko Kimura-Tilford, Worldly Pleasures, Earthly Delights: Japanese Prints from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2011, p. 221, no. 183

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