Exquisitely rendered in Hokusai’s expert brush, they include landscapes of Buddhist India, Ancient China, and representations of their industries and beliefs, as well as various scenes from the natural world real and imagined. One drawing, “Cats and hibiscus,” depicts an amusing standoff between two alert felines. “India, China, Korea” is one of six works in the series in which Hokusai portrayed the typical inhabitants of lands in East, Southeast, and Central Asia and beyond. In another, particularly dynamic image, the artist drew the Buddhist deity Virūdhaka being struck by a lightning bolt, while “Dragon head Kannon” dramatizes one of 33 manifestations of Avalokiteśvara, the Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion.
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