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South Wind, Clearing Skies (Red Fuji) (Gaifû kaisei)

Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, 1760–1849)

c. 1830-1832

Medium woodcut on paper Measurements H: 10 1/16 x W: 14 7/8 in. (25.56 x 37.78 cm) Credit Bequest of Dr. James B. Austin Accession Number 89.28.408 Location Not on View


This striking print, popularly known as Red Fuji, is one of Hokusai's most famous works. The simplicity of the composition, which focuses the viewer's attention on the mountain to the exclusion of all else, differentiates Hokusai's style from Hiroshige's more detailed renderings. Hokusai signed this print "the master of the one-stroke style" to call attention to his bold manner of delineating the mountain with a single contour line. Mt. Fuji is the largest volcano in Japan and was the center of a folk cult that flourished during Hokusai's time. There are subtle allusions to the Fuji cult in the title of the print. For example, "south wind" (gaifu) in the title might refer to the Fuji god as well as to a wind originating in the south.