River landscape: ferry-boat and Mount Fuji

Artist: Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 (1760 - 1849)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1842
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 84.9 x 42.7 cm (33 7/16 x 16 13/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 08: Hokusai: Mad About Painting

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

boat, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kakemono, landscape, Mount Fuji, river, ukiyo-e

To 1903
Bunkio Matsuki (1867-1940), Boston, to 1903 [1]

From 1903 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Bunkio Matsuki in Japan in 1903 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] Undated folder sheet note. See Original Kakemono List, S.I. 235, pg. 79, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. For information regarding purchase location, see Accession List.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Bunkio Matsuki (C.L. Freer source) 1867-1940


Hokusai was eighty-three years old when he painted this landscape of Mount Fuji, which was an prominent subject of his prints and paintings in his later years. The composition follows a formula derived from Chinese landscape painting in which distant elements are placed higher in the composition. Here, Mount Fuji is at the highest, most distant point, but the focal scene of human activity—a boat loaded with passengers and cargo sweeping across the water—is in the foreground. This work displays many characteristics of Hokusai’s original style of landscape painting: a distinctive color palette of yellows, blues, and greens; expert control of composition, line, and thin application of ink and color; and the use of dots of various tonalities to depict landforms and trees.

Published References
  • John T. Carpenter. Hokusai Paintings: Selected Essays. Venice. no. 8.9.
  • Matthi Forrer. Hokusai. New York. no. 438.
  • Ann Yonemura et al. Hokusai: Volume Two. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 124, pp. 34, 90.
  • Ann Yonemura. Hokusai: Volume One. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 109, pp. 166-167.
  • Harold P. Stern. Ukiyo-e Painting. Exh. cat. Washington and Baltimore, 1973. cat. 98, pp. 262-263.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage conditions apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.