The Great wave off Kanagawa

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The Great Wave off Kanagawa, also known as the Great Wave, is a woodblock art item printed between 1829 and 1833 by the Japanese artist Hokusai. The Great Wave is one of the most well-known works of Japanese sculpture in the world. The item represents the Great Wave, which was attacking ships and boats off Kanagawa’s coast. The most of the time, it was thought to be a tsunami. Because of the illustration of Mount Fuji that appears in the backdrop of the object, it is clear that the Great Wave was still present in all of the printed works of art. Certainly, we can conclude that Hokusai has intended to depict that Great Wave as tsunami when he was producing the work. Evidently, Great Wave is an examination of the connection between the artist and object under the focus. According to the interpretation of Guth (2015, Great Wave is not a titular wave rather the diminishing peak of Mount Fuji which is under the breaking crest. The Great Wave off Kanagawa has inspire both the art of music and literature together with many other compositions which were to follow. The Great Wave depicts the deadly nature of the breaking wave and scientifically possible conditions as the scene we are shown in the picture appears to be rather plausible. Apart from the Great Wave, there are other works of Hokusai that portrays features of fluid motion together with demonstrations of animals and plants. In a nutshell, the author’s view to observe nature is evident in the Great Wave of Kanagawa.
Japanese art covers several styles, including woodblock prints, Kirigami, Dorodango, Manga. The artistic work like painting and drawing in Japan has a long history, right from the beginning of human habitation way back in 10th century. The root of art in Japan can be traced from the activities of ancient hunters and gatherers. Still, Japan has been in front in the art and strange ideas, some due to their contact with the outside world. The Great Wave off Kanagawa captures becomes one of the famous object as a result of the painting. Painting, for instance, is viewed as an artistic expression in Japan carried out by amateurs and the professional in the country. It is done both for pleasure and for living. For a long time, up to nowadays Japanese artists were painting with rush instead of pen. It has attracted a number of illustrations as people try to understand the meaning of the work of art in the context of its time. The paper seeks to analyze The Great Wave off Kanagawa by placing the work it its context and examining how it connects to the time it was printed.
The object: the Great Wave off Kanagawa
Research Questions
What are some of the changes that took place during the period when the The Great Wave off Kanagawa was drawn?
What are the factors that influenced the drawing of the object during this time of history?
Does the object relates to the time in which it was produced in terms of political, social, religious, economical and the artistic trend that prevailed during the time?
What was the message that that the artist wanted to relay when producing the work?
The Object under Study: The Great wave off Kanagawa
The object of the Great Wave off Kanagawa is an adoration of the sea made by the Hokusai who resides with a religious fear of the overwhelming ocean. Hokusai is fascinated by the sudden wooly of the ocean that soars towards the sky; with the splatter of the claw which appears like it producing water droplets. Furthermore, the Great Wave in the drawing forms a frame in which the viewers can clearly see Mount Fuji in the background. In the background, a wave that forms a miniature of Fuji reflected by the mountain can be seen. The image of the object produces the little wave to be bigger than the mount which can be a clear indication that the Great Wave was so enormous. Further from the object of the Great wave off Kanagawa, we can see the fishermen clinging to their boats as they try to overcome the wave. Strange enough, with enormous wave, the sun can still be seen to shine high in the sky as evident in the woodblock print.
The scene illuminated by the painter shows that there are three fast boats which are used for the transportation of live fish to the markets. From the oriental of the pictures where we have Mount Fuji lying to the Northwest, the harbor of Sagami lying to the South, and Tokyo lying to the North. Therefore, it can be concluded that the boats that are facing South East are sailing back to the capital.
The other features of the art evident in the woodblock are eight rows of boats with two passengers in front of every boat. Similarly, the woodblock Print of the Great Wave portrays a swell of water that looks like it is engulfing shipmen who are delivering fish to the capital. It also appears to be engulfing Mount Fuji that lies behind it.

Some of the Factors that Influenced the Drawing of the Great Wave off Kanagawa
The conflation of the Great Wave Off Kanagawa could have been assisted a long with the fashion that existed among the Japanese in Europe America towards the end of 19th century. It was marked by the great tsunami in 1896 that claimed lives of several people and led to mass destruction of resources in northern Japan. The great tsunami of 1896 was reported worldwide because of the natural disaster brought to Europeans and Americans which had never occurred in their land before. Evidently, there are a number of ways in which the image has been used to point out a wider range of horrific disasters that have been happening in the world. For instance, in 1948, a novelist, Pearl Buck alluded to the Great Wave in his allegorical children’s story, titled The Big Wave set in Japan with the description of Hokusai’s work of art. The novelist intended to assist the children to deal with the effect of World War II at the dawn of Atomic Age.
The aesthetic beauty by which Hokusai’s work of art is portrayed through the cresting waves goes on avail an alternative to the realities of the worldwide effect of the volcano eruption, earthquakes, and floods in most of the pacific regions. Another artist, David Salle continues to allude to art of Great Wave as he comments on the hurricanes of Katrina and to the victims of the 800 Pan Am Flight in Stoney Point Beach. The painter features the object of the Great Wave off Kanagawa morphing into a flying bird.
We can depict of the economic activities that some of the Japanese were doing during this time, for instance fishing is evident in the object. We can see that the wave is almost engulfing them, but the fishermen do not seem to lose hope in their economic activity. It could be an illustration of the determination Japanese and the residence to build their capital and there is nothing that is going to stop them from doing that. Mount Fuji has a close connection with the Japanese souls. To the Japanese, it symbolizes the obviousness of the time and it had a connection with the immortality which proves to be imperative in regards to the connection that the artist had with the object of art.
To conclude, the Great Wave off Kanagawa is one of the most iconic work of art in Japan whose influence has gone far and wide and has attracted several tourists in the all over the world. The object Great Wave off Kanagawa has various adorations that have meaning in the context of the time in which it was produced. For instance, it works as a reminder to some of the horrifying natural disaster not only in Japan, but also all over the world. The paper has further highlights all the almost all the features of the work of art at their meaning and the influence that they have in the context of the time. For instance the pictures of the fishermen who appear in the woodblock print. It has further highlighted socio- economic effect and explanation in respect to the object. Lastly, the intension of the artist for producing this iconic object has also been brought forth.

Benfey, Christopher. The Great Wave: Gilded Age Misfits, Japanese Eccentrics, and the Opening of Old Japan. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2004.
Cartwright, Julyan, and Hisami Nakamura. “What Kind of a Wave Is Hokusai’s Great Wave Off Kanagawa?” Notes and Records 63, no. 2 (2009): 119-135.
Dudley, John M., Sarano, Véronique, and Fréderic Dias. “On Hokusai’s Great Wave Off Kanagawa: Localization, Linearity and a Rogue Wave in sub-Antarctic Waters.” Notes Rec. R. Soc. 67, no. 2 (2013): 159-164.
Guth, Christine. Hokusai’s Great Wave. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2015.
Ives, Colta Feller. The Great Wave: The Influence of Japanese Woodcuts on French Prints. New
York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1974.

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