Album of Sketches by Katsushika Hokusai and His Disciples

Katsushika Hokusai Japanese

Not on view

The brush-inscribed text between the two roosters explains the odd dynamic of this work:

A drawing of a real rooster
coming to fight the wooden
rooster made by Suminawa.
(Suminawa ga tsukereru ki no
niwatori makoto no niwatori
kitaritekeru zu)

This unsigned drawing is virtually identical to a woodblock-printed illustration published in the popular novel The Tale of the Craftsman of Hida (Hida no takumi monogatari, 1809), authored by Rokujuen Meshimori (1753–1830) and illustrated by Hokusai. The episode of the book represented here relates the story of the master carpenter Suminawa of Hida, who created a carved bird so lifelike that another bird mistook it for a real one. It is assumed that this is a preparatory drawing from which the hanshita-e (block drawing) was made.

Album of Sketches by Katsushika Hokusai and His Disciples, Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, Tokyo (Edo) 1760–1849 Tokyo (Edo)), Album of ninety-seven leaves; ink and color on paper, Japan

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