The Journey

Group of Mountain Climbers (Shojin tozan), from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjurokkei)

  • 41
  • Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, 1760–1849)
  • Japan
  • Edo period, 1830–32
  • Color woodblock print
  • H. 9 5/8 x W. 14 11/16 in. (24.5 x 37.3 cm)
  • The Art Institute of Chicago, Clarence Buckingham Collection, 1925.3241
  • Mount Fuji
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Already an important Japanese Shinto site, Mount Fuji took on Buddhist associations, specifically with the Buddha Vairochana (Dainichi in Japanese), the supreme Buddha of the Esoteric Buddhist pantheon. Pilgrims who climb Mount Fuji are said to travel from the world of the living to the world of the dead and back. Through this enterprise the devout hope to wash away the sins and impurities of this world. The print's designer, Katsushika Hokusai, himself a devout Buddhist, was fascinated by Mount Fuji and featured it in this hallmark series, paintings, and an illustrated book of one hundred views. In this print pilgrims in customary white robes approach others gathered to rest before moving on toward a group worshipping in one of the mountain's numerous caves.

PHOTO CREDIT: © The Art Institute of Chicago

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