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Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)
Property from a European private collection
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)

Gohyaku Rakanji Saizaido (The Sazai Hall of the temple Gohyaku Rakanji, “Five Hundred Arhat temple”)

Details
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)
Gohyaku Rakanji Saizaido (The Sazai Hall of the temple Gohyaku Rakanji, “Five Hundred Arhat temple”)
Woodblock print, from the series Fugaku sanjurokkei (Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji), signed saki no Hokusai Iitsu hitsu (drawn by Iitsu, formerly Hokusai), published by Nishimuraya Yohachi (Eijudo)
10 3/8 x 15 1/8 in. (26.4 x 38.4 cm.)

Lot Essay

The scene shows regular people taking in the panorama from the viewing platform of the Sazai Hall of the Five-hundred Rakan Temple. For most of them, the balcony, at a height of three stories, was as high up as they had ever been. The temple was erected by shogunal grant in Honjo, the newer, eastern district of Edo, surrounded by fields. Getting there was going to the end of the line, but it was a top tourist destination. The main attraction of five hundred wood sculptures was an imaginary re-creation of the assembly of arhats (rakan in Japanese) who attained enlightenment while listening to the Buddha preach on Vulture Peak. Though the temple had no parishioners, it had ample funding to mount donation-drawing festivals, as well. Twenty years after Hokusai made this image, the Sazai Hall was toppled by an earthquake.

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