Katsushika Hokusai

"Travelers in Snow"
(Yuki ni watarimono 雪に渡り者)

series "A True Mirror of Chinese and Japanese Poetry"
(Shika shashin kyô)

Japanese woodblock print by Hokusai, "Traveler in Snow", dating with regard to prints with the cartouche right and left.

A few years ago we have had a print looked at by an expert on Hokusai and comment was that it was not a print of the first block, but a later reprint.

Then, last year, we found an old book on Japanese prints and noticed two prints of the same series, carrying the Hayashi seal, the collection of Tadamasa Hayashi, a Japanse art dealer (1853-1906).

This intriqued us and was the incentive to do some more research in books and on the internet, with the following results:

Print under discussion,  dimensions of imprint 51 x 22cm plus margins, cartouche right we think with extra text, very faded sothat the extra text is hardly visible; or just ......

Details image

Information and images we found in publications and on the internet.
Dimensions are, I presume, of the imprint, but I am not sure.

a) Dated 1833: In Prof. Dr. Matthi Forrer’s book “Hokusai”, Biblothèque de l’image, page 78, the print with cartouche left, less text and less snow. No image.

b) Dated 1830: In the book HOKUSAI by Willy Boller, published 1955 La Guilde du Livre, Lausanne, en Büchergilde Gutenberg, Zurich: this is the only dating the print "1830", while in all the other information they are dated ca 1833.

Image 23 (chancelier-poëte Toba ) and 24 (Nakamaro contemple la Lune), both with cartouche right and extra text, both published 1830. See " Table des illustrations"
Furthermore, the print  “Toba ..) bears the Hayashi collection stamp. Our print, but without the Hayashi stamp, seems to me to be of the same period, and not a 20th century reprint.

c) Museum of Fine Arts Boston are three examples: http://www.mfa.org/search?search_api_views_fulltext=Travelers+in+the+snow

- Acc.No. 34.322, cartouche left: about 1833 (Tenpô 4); provenance 1934 Nelly Parney Carter; Vertical nagaban; 49.7 x 22.5 cm (19 9/16 x 8 7/8 in.)

- Acc.No. 11.19655, cartouche left: ca 1833 (tenpo 4); provenance : 1911 purchased by W.S. Bigelow; Vertical nagaban; 51.8 x 23.3 cm (20 3/8 x 9 3/16 in.); dimensions different from above.

- Acc.No. 21.6670, cartouche right: description: about 1833 (Tenpô 4), Artist Katsuchika Hokusai Japanese, 1760–1849 Japanese, Publisher Moriya Jihei (Kindshindo);
Provenance: Spring 1913, purchased by William S. and John T. Spaulding from Frank Lloyd Wright in Japan; December 1, 1921, given by William S. and John T. Spaulding to the Museum
Vertical nagaban; 51.5 x 22 cm (20 1/4 x 8 11/16 in.)

ca 1833 - Acc.No. 34.322
49.7 x 22.5 cm

ca 1833 - Acc.No. 11.19655
51.8 x 23.3 cm

ca 1833 - Acc.No. 21.6670
51.5 x 22 cm

d) also cartouche right and left, various versions : http://ukiyo-e.org/image/artelino/28299g1

- 1833, cartouche left: from the MFA (Museum of Fine Arts Boston), (same as in item c) above
- 1890-1940, cartouche left: from the Library of Congress
- ????, cartouche left: from the Waseda University Theatre Museum
- Re-cut, date unknow, 2 versions, cartouche left and right: from Artelino
- 1833, cartouche left: from Woodblockprintsworld and Victoria Australia Museum

from the MFA

from the Library of Congress

Date not mentioned:
from the Waseda University Theatre Museum

Re-cut, date unknown, cartouche left:
from Artelino

Re-cut, date unknown, cartouche right:
from Artelino

Ref. Woodblock prints world , first impression, cartouche right:

".....2 impression were made of this print. This is the first edition, with the title on the upper right side of the print. After reviewing the edition, Hokusai modified the print and realized a the second edition with the title on the upper left side, more commonly known.

This impression is similar to the one from the Museum of Fine Art as seen below MFA's Version  or from the Victoria Museum in Australia HERE"

Update April 28, 2016: Another, with cartouche right, has appeared on Ebay, with detailed information.
Update November 3, 2017: of course, no longer on show on Ebay, but still on WorthPoint

We would like you to share your comments and experience with us via email: jan.thelma@telenet.be