The Rōben Falls at Ōyama in Sagami Province (Sōshū Rōben no taki)
Katsushika Hokusai (1769 - 1849)
Japanese colour woodblock print.
Published by Nishimuraya Yohachi (Eijūdō) about 1832.
Signed: Saki no Hokusai Iitsu hitsu.
The Rōben Falls at Ōyama in Sagami Province (Sōshū Rōben no taki), from the series A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces (Shokoku taki meguri). Published by Nishimuraya Yohachi (Eijūdō) about 1832. Signed: Saki no Hokusai Iitsu hitsu.
This famous series of eight prints shows various waterfalls in atmospheric vertical compositions. Shown here is Rōben Waterfall where pilgrims (identified by their pilgrim hats and tall wooden poles) ritually bathe before visiting the shrine at Ōyama, a mountain 1253 meters above sea level in Sagami Province (now Kanagawa Prefecture).
Hokusai has hidden several references to his publisher in this design. A man stands on the quay looking at the waterfall, depicted from behind: his kimono bears the character 'Jū' by Eijūdō. A pilgrim's hat balanced on the wooden balustrade in the center of the composition bears the character for 'Ei'. Another pile of hats can be seen on the right, with the top hat bearing the publisher Nishimura Yohachi's trademark.
The water clatters violently downwards, rendered in beautiful Prussian blue that gives the water depth. The pilgrims are shown in the various stages of bathing: carefully entering the pool, busy bathing and drying off at the quay.