|Method||Woodblock (nishiki-e) with gauffrage|
|Artist||after Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)|
|Dimensions||Shikishiban 216 x 186 mm|
Meiji A copy
Series title: Shisei: The Four Clans
Signature: Fusenkyo Iitsu hitsu
Refrence: Keyes, Roger. The Art of Surimono: Privately publised Japanese woodblock prints and books in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin. Sotheby, London, 1985. pg. 514, 91.
Hokusai began his career as a print designer in 1779 as a pupil of Katsukawa Shunso. Hokusai appears to have become intrigued by the surimono in the 1790s. Fumiko Togasaki, in her 1979 essay on Hokusai's surimono, suggests that this was related to the Kansei Reforms of 1790, which attempted to control morals and manners as well as publications, including woodblock prints. Each print was required to have the official approval of the Tokugawa government, and from this year on a censor mark appeared on every print. Surimono needed neither publisher nor government approval, because it was privately printed at the patron's own expense.
In 1796, Hokusai designed a number of surimono and privately published album sheets. From 1799 to 1809, Hokusai produced a large number of surimono prints, but relatively few in the following decade. In 1820 Hokusai resumed designing surimono and produced a large number in the two following years. After 1824, Hokusai practically withdrew making surimono although he did make a few in the early 1830s.