River landscape: ferry-boat and Mount Fuji

Artist: Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 (1760-1849)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1842
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 84.9 x 42.7 cm (33 7/16 x 16 13/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

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

To 1903
Bunkio Matsuki (1867-1940), Boston, to 1903 [1]

From 1903 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Bunkio Matsuki in Japan in 1903 [2]

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


[1] Undated folder sheet note. See Original Kakemono List, S.I. 235, pg. 79, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. For information regarding purchase location, see Accession List.

[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)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Bunkio Matsuki (C.L. Freer source) 1867-1940


Hokusai was eighty-three years old when he painted this landscape of Mount Fuji, which was an prominent subject of his prints and paintings in his later years. The composition follows a formula derived from Chinese landscape painting in which distant elements are placed higher in the composition. Here, Mount Fuji is at the highest, most distant point, but the focal scene of human activity—a boat loaded with passengers and cargo sweeping across the water—is in the foreground. This work displays many characteristics of Hokusai’s original style of landscape painting: a distinctive color palette of yellows, blues, and greens; expert control of composition, line, and thin application of ink and color; and the use of dots of various tonalities to depict landforms and trees.

Published References
  • John T. Carpenter. Hokusai Paintings: Selected Essays. Venice. no. 8.9.
  • Matthi Forrer. Hokusai. New York. no. 438.
  • Ann Yonemura, Nagata Seiji, Kobayashi Tadashi, Asano Shugo, Timothy Clark, Naito Masatoshi. Hokusai: Volume Two. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 124, pp. 34, 90.
  • Ann Yonemura. Hokusai: Volume One. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 109, pp. 166-167.
  • Harold P. Stern. Ukiyo-e Painting: Freer Gallery of Art Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition. Exh. cat. Washington and Baltimore, 1973. cat. 98, pp. 262-263.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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