Katsushika Hokusai
The Watermill at Onden

Signed: Zen Hokusai I’itsu hitsu; Publisher’s seal: Eijudō (Nishimuraya Yohachi); censor’s seal: kiwame; ōban, yoko-e, 24.0 x 35.5 cm; nishiki-e with ichimonji-bokashi

From “36 Views of Mount Fuji”. Water is being channelled through a conduit to a mill in order to turn the big water wheel. Two women are at the water’s edge along with a boy, who is leading a stubborn turtle on a leash. Beyond the water, two men are dragging sacks of grain to the mill. On the right, behind broad fields and wafting fog, the summit of Fuji rises up in the distance. The geometric composition of this design is more clearly recognizable and less convincing than in other prints from this series.

Sotheby’s, London (February 1964)
Riese Collection #120

The two workmen in the centre of the print seem to be carrying sacks of grain to be proud in a mill powered by the waterwheel. A woman is squatting by the sluiceway washing herbs in a basket, while another woman stands to one side with a washtub. A boy stands at the left watching the waterwheel, holding on a leash a pet turtle which is making every effort to run the other way.
The geometry of this print is perhaps more obvious than in other plates from the series, and less successfully resolved. The colour is good, the yellow in the foliage has not faded.

Reproduced in: Ingelheim catalogue, no. 104.