Pictures of Mount Fuji


Presented here is a picture album published in 1846, based on sketches drawn by the Edo period painter Koizumi Danzan (also seen as Koizumi Ayaru, circa 1766−1854) after he reached the top of Mount Fuji in 1795. It consists of inscriptions and an introduction by several famous scholars and poets with a postscript by Koizumi; 21 pictures by Koizumi (however, in this copy, the seventh, eighth, and ninth pictures are also inserted as the first three pictures, so three are missing); the postscript and colophon; and a distant view of Mount Fuji and commentary by a pupil of Koizumi. Koizumi sought to depict Mount Fuji realistically, so his pictures differ from the distant views of the mountain often painted by many other artists. The album shows Mount Fuji’s crater viewed from the top and scenes that vary depending on the viewer’s standpoint, such as the shape of Mount Fuji, the protuberances on its summit, and the places where snow remains. Although they are realistic pictures, frames 14−15, which show a morning scene halfway up Mount Fuji, are also a beautiful representation of the complex movement of a sea of clouds in the morning sun. The book consists of a long piece of paper folded into a bellows shape with a front cover attached. It can be viewed when fully opened, but it has been photographed in units of double-page spreads for the digital image. Frames 14−15 and 23−24 thus represent two parts of one picture. The composition intended by the artist can best be understood by downloading and rearranging the images.

Last updated: June 25, 2015