Katsushika Hokusai’s dragon and fuji scroll painting

The meaning of 「富士越龍図」(Dragon over Mt. Fuji)

Hokusai’s later years artwork

The great painter and woodblock printmaker Katsushika Hokusai died April 18th, 1849. He was 90 years old at the time. According to the record, 

翁 死に臨み大息し 天我をして十年の命を長らわしめば といい 暫くして更に言いて曰く
天我をして五年の命を保たしめば 真正の画工となるを得(う)べし と言吃りて死す

‘On his deathbed, he breathed deeply and said “If the heaven let me live ten more years…”, then continued after a while “If the heaven let me preserve my life five more years, I could become a real artist.”‘

Dragon and Mt. Fuji

Hokusai drew “Dragon over Mt. Fuji” in the same year when he died. The painting is the (almost?) last artwork for him. A dragon with black clouds goes over Mt. Fuji and fly high. That meant a success of a carrier. 

He might have identified with the dragon. Above all, the geometrical mountain was special landscape for him. The big hit of “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” made him firmly establish the place in the world of ukiyo-e woodblock printing.

We can hear the voice of Hokusai that he wished to live a little longer for the completion of the art technique.


“Dragon over Mt. Fuji”





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