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Mt. Fuji in Autumn

Accession Number

Mt. Fuji in Autumn

Hanabusa Itchō

Object Creation Date
early 18th century

Medium & Support
hanging scroll, ink and light color on paper

12 15/16 in x 20 1/2 in (32.86 cm x 52.07 cm)

Subject matter

The volcanic Mount Fuji was considered a sacred mountain and was visited mostly by pilgrims until the eighteenth century, when more tourists made their way to, and often up, the mountain. Visible from Edo (modern-day Tokyo), the awe-inspiring Fuji was gradually adopted as a symbol of civic pride by its residents. Popular print designers such as Katsushika Hokusai (whose work featuring Mt. Fuji is also on view in this gallery) exploited the affection for the mountain in their art.

Here, the painter Hanabusa Itchô combines an almost iconic view of Fuji with classical poetic emblems of late autumn—a crescent moon, a lone male deer, and red autumn leaves— to create a scene of quiet melancholy.

In this melancholy image, a lone male deer stands among red autumn leaves in a scene dimly lit by a crescent moon. It is likely that Itchō produced this image with a celebrated eighth-century poem by Sarumaru in mind, though he located the scene in the mountains visible from Edo, including Mount Fuji:

When I hear the voice
of the stag crying for his mate
stepping through the fallen leaves
deep in the mountains—then is the time that autumn is saddest.

(translation by Joshua S. Mostow)


Physical Description
In the center of this painting, there is Mt. Fuji. Next to the peak of the mountain, to the left of the painting, there is a crescent moon and clouds. To the bottom right of the painting, there are green hills with trees that have red fall leaves on them. Next to these trees, there is one lone deer looking up to the sky. At the bottom of the Mountain, there is a river.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
hanging scroll

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
Mount Fuji
hanging scroll
hanging scrolls
wild animals

5 Related Resources

Celestial bodies
(Part of: Natural World)
Ink and Realisms
(Part of: Artist Associations and Art Movements)
Japan Pax Tokugawa 1600-1868
(Part of: Empires and Colonialism)

& Author Notes

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