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Turban-shell Hall of the Five-Hundred-Rakan Temple
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Group: Modern Life Modern Vision

Artist: Katsushika HOKUSAI
Birth/Death: 1760–1849

Title: Turban-shell Hall of the Five-Hundred-Rakan Temple
Date Made: 1830-5

Lender: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Credit Line: Gift of Orde Poynton Esq. AO, CMG 2000

Clearly visible from Edo, the majestic cone of the volcano Mount Fuji had long fascinated the Japanese. In the early 1830s Hokusai produced his major series on this subject Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji. It became a popular success. Sazaidô or the “Turban-shell Tower” is a three-storey tower attached to the temple. Being the highest point in the city it offered panoramic views across Edo to Mount Fuji. In Turban-shell Tower of the Five-Hundred-Rakan Temple a group of people have gathered to admire the fine view of the mountain.

Utilising multiple vanishing points Hokusai has arranged the lines of the hall to draw our attention to the summit of the volcano. The pointed finger of the young boy to the left also directs the eye to the summit. This use of multiple perspectives was not part of Western art, but was used freely by Hokusai. Monet later adopted it in his Garden at Sainte-Adresse.

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