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Pilgrims at Kirifuri Waterfall on Mount Kurokami in Shimotsuke Province
Pilgrims at Kirifuri Waterfall on Mount Kurokami in Shimotsuke Province, c. 1831-1832
Katsushika Hokusai, Japanese
Color woodcut
Ōban tate-e: 14 13/16 x 10 1/8 inches (37.6 x 25.7 cm)
The Samuel S. White 3rd and Vera White Collection, 1958
1958-151-26
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Looking Questions

  • What is the biggest thing in this landscape? What do its shapes remind you of?
  • How many people can you find?
  • Do you feel close to the waterfall or far away from it? Why?
  • Make two lists of colors: one for the colors of the water and another for the colors in the surrounding landscape. Now look at the people. What colors did Hokusai use for them?
  • Would you like to visit this place? Why or why not?

Art Project: Relief Printmaking

Younger Students
Have students sketch a design to make a print. Using a sheet of Styrofoam (available from art supply catalogues, or use trays from the supermarket), students can draw their design into the surface of the Styrofoam with a pencil. Next, using a roller, students can apply a water-based printing ink to the surface. Place a sheet of paper over the inked Styrofoam and rub gently and firmly. Then students can peel the paper away to see their printed design. Reapply ink to the Styrofoam to make multiple copies. If Styrofoam is not available, students can draw small designs into a half of a potato with a pencil and proceed the same way.



Older Students
Have students transfer a sketched design onto a linoleum block. Using linoleum cutters, students can cut into the block, removing all the linoleum that they do not want to appear in the final design. Apply printing ink to the block with a roller, or brayer. Next, students should lay a piece of paper over the block and apply even pressure to create a print. A wooden spoon or baren can be used for better pressure. Reapply ink to print multiple copies. Have students sign and number each print.

Research Idea

Research the life of Katsushika Hokusai and the many prints he made. Learn his contributions to Japanese printmaking. Study artists from the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements, and discuss how Hokusai’s work influenced these painters.

Group Activity

Katsushika Hokusai visited many famous natural wonders in Japan, and created prints illustrating them. He included people in his prints to help us imagine what it might be like to actually be at the site. Have each student bring in a picture of a beautiful natural wonder; somewhere they have visited, or somewhere they would like to visit. Students can write an imaginary story of what it would be like to visit this place. Who would they go with? What kinds of activities might they do? How would it feel to see this place? How would they describe it so others could enjoy it as well? If they like, students can create a drawing to accompany their story.
 

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