SIA Inspiration: HokusaiPosted: August 29, 2016
It’s again my turn to host SIA, and I went the traditional route and picked an iconic piece – perhaps the best-known woodblock print and the most famous work of Japanese art, “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Hokusai. You know the one:
I’ve picked one of Hokusai’s prints from the same series for SIA a while ago, but this time, I just read about this print in an excellent book called A History of the World in 100 Objects (I will talk about it in my Book Reviews post on Wednesday), and it gave some really cool insights into the print and Japan during the time it was made. Here’s an excerpt: “It is printed on traditional Japanese mulberry paper, just under the size of a sheet of A3, in subtle shades of yellow, grey and pink, but it is the deep, rich blue that dominates – and startles. For this is not a Japanese blue – it is Prussian blue or Berlin blue, a synthetic dye invented in Germany in the early eighteenth century and much less prone to fading than traditional blues. Prussian blue was imported either directly by Dutch traders or, more probably, via China, where it was being manufactured from the 1820s. The blueness of the Great Wave shows us Japan taking from Europe what it wants to take, and with absolute confidence.”
Of course, it is also that blue that draws me to this print and makes me decide to pick it for SIA. There are various shades of blue to play with, plus the curl of the waves and the dots of sprays can also be translated into an outfit (lace and polka dots, maybe?) Look more closely at it and you’ll find tons of things to interpret. So get inspired, and remember to send me your outfits by next Monday, September 5th. Have fun!