Yoshimoto Masao – Mt. Fuji From Lake Hakone
A wooden ubune boat (used for cormorant fishing) is anchored to the lakeshore, in the distance beyond the lake, the green and brown hills partially block a view of Mount Fuji during sunrise.
A wooden ubune boat, used by fisherman for cormorant fishing, is anchored to the lakeshore. This 13-meter boat holds the three riders, the cormorants and the night's catch. Hanging from the front of the boat is an iron basket (篝 kagari, not shown), which is supported by the fire pole (篝棒 kagaribō) and holds the fire in front of the boat. That fire (篝火 kagaribi) is used to light both the fishing master's path and make it easier for the cormorants to find fish. The nearby gassho-zukuri dwelling has a steep grass top that allows snow to slide off during the winters.
Beyond the lake the hills partially block a view of Mount Fuji during sunrise.
The Gasshō-style house ("prayer-hands construction" style) is characterized by a steeply slanting thatched roof, resembling two hands joined in prayer.The design is exceptionally strong and, in combination with the unique properties of the thatching, allows the houses to withstand and shed the weight of the region's heavy snowfalls in winter. The Gassho-style house is architecturally one of the most important and rare types of farmhouse in Japan. The clustering of so many surviving examples has given the World Heritage Site its justification for formal recognition. This confident style of house construction is unique within Japan, and nowhere else within the country is roof space typically utilized, except for passive storage, and not in a two, three or four story manner.
The style of this print is very different than many of the shin-hanga artists that we're familiar with, looking almost watercolor in its treatment of colors and application, almost as if the artist painted-on the details and the washes.
The Woodblock Print
This woodblock print is in very good condition; strong colors, solid intact margins, no discoloration or foxing anywhere. Expected bleed-through to the verso, with residue of taping on the verso in the corners. The artist's signature is in the lower right corner, with the publisher markings in the right margin. The print measures 11"x16" with the image being 10.5"x15.5".
We have been unable to find any information the artist, Yoshimoto Masao. With the exception being a few listings for sale of his other work, the only other information we've found is a listing of a print within this series at the Honolulu Museum of Art. His other known prints seem to be variations on the same composition, yet portrayed at different times during the day and/or different seasons of morning, sunset, and winter. Based on colors, this print doesn't seem to be either of those.