Boy Viewing Mount Fuji

Artist: Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 (1760-1849)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1839
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 36.2 x 51.3 cm (14 1/4 x 20 3/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

child, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kakemono, landscape, Mount Fuji, ukiyo-e

To 1898
Ernest Francisco Fenollosa (1853-1908), Japan, to 1898 [1]

From 1898 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Ernest Francisco Fenollosa, through Edward S. Hull Jr., New York in 1898 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Kakemono List, L. 170, pg. 37, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Edward S. Hull Jr. was Ernest Francisco Fenollosa’s (1853-1908) lawyer. Hull often acted as an agent, facilitating purchases of objects consigned to him by Fenollosa, as well as purchases of objects consigned to him by Fenollosa's well-known associate, Bunshichi Kobayashi (see correspondence, Hull to Freer, 1898-1900, as well as invoices from E.S. Hull Jr., 1898-1900, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives). See also, Ingrid Larsen, "'Don’t Send Ming or Later Pictures': Charles Lang Freer and the First Major Collection of Chinese Painting in an American Museum," Ars Orientalis vol. 40 (2011), pgs. 15 and 34. See further, Thomas Lawton and Linda Merrill, Freer: A Legacy of Art, (Washington, DC and New York: Freer Gallery of Art and H. N. Abrams, 1993), pgs. 133-134.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Ernest Francisco Fenollosa (C.L. Freer source) 1853-1908
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


Mount Fuji may be the most widely recognized symbol of Japan. The mountain and its name carry many meanings that are conveyed in Japanese by writing "Fuji" with different characters, such as a pair meaning "peerless." The highest mountain in Japan, Fuji's imminent power is contained in its seething volcanic core, hidden beneath its perennial cloak of snow. Regarded as sacred, Mount Fuji has been a site for religious pilgrimage, and ancient stories maintain that an elixir of immortality could be found at its peak. This painting frames the mountain in the bend of a willow that extends over a rushing stream. A young boy nestles in the tree, playing a flute while gazing at the mountain. This tranquil and engaging view of Fuji was one of hundreds produced by Hokusai during his lifetime. Here, at the age of nearly eighty, the artist gives visual form to his quest for long life by portraying a young boy in the thrall of the immortal mountain.

A prolific and technically proficient painter, Hokusai had a special sympathy for common people, whom he often depicted in his paintings, prints, and illustrations for printed books. Here he employs thin washes of color almost without outline to bring forth the familiar form of the great volcanic mountain.

Published References
  • Anthony Santangelo, Esq. "Featuring Artwork by Katsushika Hokusai." The Monkey King of the Tranquil Mountains. United States of America, 2020. Cover image.
  • Andreas Marks. Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. Koln, Germany, July 2, 2021. pg 4, fig 1.
  • Alan MacFarlane. Japan: Through the Looking Glass. .
  • John T. Carpenter. Hokusai Paintings: Selected Essays. Venice. no. 2.11.
  • Matthi Forrer. Hokusai. New York. no. 392.
  • Harold P. Stern, Narasaki Muneshige. Ukiyo-e shuka. vol. 16, Tokyo. no. 116.
  • Kobayashi Bunshichi. Ukiyo-e tenrankai hinmoku [Ukiyo-e exhibition list]. Exh. cat. Tokyo. .
  • Harold P. Stern. Hokusai: Paintings and Drawings in the Freer Gallery of Art. Exh. cat. Washington. p. 13.
  • Elisabeth West FitzHugh. A Pigment Census of Ukiyo-e Paintings in the Freer Gallery of Art. vol. 11 Washington and Ann Arbor, 1979. pp. 27-38.
  • Ann Yonemura, Nagata Seiji, Kobayashi Tadashi, Asano Shugo, Timothy Clark, Naito Masatoshi. Hokusai: Volume Two. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 119, p. 34, 88.
  • Ann Yonemura. Hokusai: Volume One. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 30, p. 39.
  • Thomas Lawton, Linda Merrill. Freer: a legacy of art. Washington and New York, 1993. p. 135, fig. 30.
  • John T. Carpenter. Hokusai and His Age. p. 138.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 140.
  • Harold P. Stern. Ukiyo-e Painting: Freer Gallery of Art Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition. Exh. cat. Washington and Baltimore, 1973. cat. 96, pp. 258-259.
  • Edmond de Goncourt. Hokousaï. Paris. p. 305.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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