Ki No Natora and Ôtomo No Yoshio Wrestling
By Katsushika Hokusai
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Edition size: n/a, early lifetime impression
Sheet size: 21,0 x 18,2 cm
Very good impression, printed with metallic pigment, gold and silver, very good colour and condition.
This surimono is quite atypical in the production of the early 19th century Ukiyo-e, both in the choice of the theme and in the technique. The subject is especially unusual for a surimono but fits with Hokusai's desire to trying out new ways of expression. We can notice here the influence of his master Katsukawa Shunshō’s theatrical prints, characterized by impressive figures.
The two wrestlers, whose names are written in the right cartouche, are depicted in the fight with a large plasticity of volumes. Hokusai uses sophisticated technical instruments such as gold and silver powders, and a special color palette.
Another impression of the print is at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (accession number 00.1949).
Another one, from the Pulverer Collection (inv. n. 1020), Cologne, was exhibited in the Milanese exhibition devoted to Hokusai in 1999. See Gian Carlo Calza, Hokusai, il vecchio pazzo per la pittura, Milan 1999; cat. No. V.28.
A preparatory drawing for this print was in the Vever collection. See Jack Hillier, Japanese Prints and Drawings from the Vever Collection, London 1976; vol. III, no. 760.